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Most CRCTs below state, but improving

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Although Newton County School System students on average scored below state averages on the spring CRCT, system officials said that scores have improved from last year.

Last school year, Newton County Schools performed below the state in all levels of the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests, and this year, the system as a whole performed below state levels in all but one area, according to Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations at NCSS.

The system as a whole saw gains in 22 of 30 areas this year, compared to last year's results, according to NCSS.

In reading, changes ranged by a drop of .3 percent to an increase of 3 percent of students in grades three through eight meeting or exceeding state standards.

In English language arts, changes ranged from a drop of 2.1 percent to an increase of 2.8 percent.

In math, there was a drop of .6 percent in grade six, compared to an increase of 9.6 in grade four. A gain of more than 5 percent was posted for eighth-graders.

In science, fifth-grade scores dropped by .8 percent and eighth-graders on average increased 4.1 percent.

Social studies results showed that student averages in fifth grade dropped 3.9 percent, and sixth-grade averages increased 9.6 percent, compared to last year.

"We're pleased to see the upward trends for grades 3 through 8, while recognizing that there is still plenty of room for improvement," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews in a press release Wednesday afternoon. "It's a good thing to be on the upswing."

Although students in grades one through eight may be tested in reading, math, science, social studies and English/language arts, state law requires students in third , fifth and eighth grade meet or exceed standards on the CRCT in reading in order to be promoted. Fifth- and eighth-grade students must also meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in mathematics.

This year, the state did not fund first- and second-grade CRCTs across the state, but some systems gave students mock exams.

Students have the opportunity to retest over the summer and may be promoted to the next grade level after not passing required portions of the CRCT if school-level administration and teachers agree to it in some instances. Final results of the CRCT will be released later this year after retest results are in.

The test also counts toward a school's and school system's Adequate Yearly Progress, which determines if it is on the state's Needs Improvement list under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Earlier this year, Mathews predicted that up to 19 NCSS schools may not make AYP if results remained the same as last year, when the system as a whole did not make AYP. Now, he said NCSS might see a bit better situation, considering these improving results.

"I do believe that NCSS will considerably best the dire prediction," he said. "We're going to do better than this when these federal results are released."

School-level results should be released by state officials no later than July 6, according to the Georgia Department of Education. Schools already have received individual student reports and may have calculated some preliminary numbers, GaDOE officials said. Preliminary AYP results usually are released in July.

More information about the CRCT and AYP is available on the GaDOE website, www.gadoe.org.