COVINGTON -- Results from school-level CRCTs show that many Newton County schools are not in line with other schools around the state in critical areas of reading and math. However, they do show that scores are improving.
The Georgia Department of Education released school-level results for this year's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, or CRCT, on Thursday morning.
"We are on the right track," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews. "The system showed statistically significant gains of (three points) or better in 13 instances in 2011-12, compared to only 10 instances in 2010-11."
Many Newton County schools posted pass rates below state averages in the critical areas of third-, fifth- and eighth-grade reading and math, according to results.
Although students in grades three through eight may be tested in reading, math, science, social studies and English/language arts, state law requires that students in third, fifth and eighth grades meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT, or pass the test, in reading in order to be promoted to the next grade level. Fifth- and eighth-grade students also must pass the math section of the CRCT to move on.
In third-grade reading, eight out of 14 schools had pass rates below the state's average pass rate of 90.6 percent. Porterdale Elementary School posted the lowest percentage of third-grade students passing the test on the reading portion in Newton County with a 79.1 percent pass rate. Heard-Mixon Elementary had all of its third-graders pass the reading test.
In fifth-grade reading, results fared better with only four of 14 schools showing pass rates below state averages, 91.49 percent. The lowest pass rate was earned at South Salem Elementary school with 85.3 percent of its fifth-grade students passing the reading test. Nearly 98 percent of fifth-graders at the Newton County Theme School passed reading.
In fifth-grade math, nine out of 14 schools had pass rates below the state, which was 83.68 percent. Several schools posted pass rates in the 60-percent range -- Porterdale had 66 percent of its fifth-graders pass math, Livingston 66.7 and Fairview 67.7. Newton County Theme School had nearly 94 percent of its fifth-graders pass math.
In eighth-grade reading, half of the schools had pass rates lower than the state average, which was 95.91 percent. Only Challenge Charter Academy posted a rate lower than 90 percent -- 76 percent of its eighth-graders passed the reading test. All other middle schools boasted pass rates between 94.6 and 97.3 percent.
In eighth-grade math, all but one middle school had pass averages below the state, which was 76.65 percent. Challenge Charter Academy only had 8.3 percent of its eighth-graders pass the test, while the other below-state-average schools posted pass rates between 63 and 72 percent. Liberty Middle School had 81.2 percent of its eighth-graders pass math.
In 2012, Challenge Charter posted gains in nine of 15 testing categories of the CRCT; however, the school fell below the state average scores on all tests, according to NCSS. It is an independent charter school governed by a separate board of directors, but the GaDOE includes the school's scores in the system's averages.
In addition to Heard-Mixon's third-grade class in reading, other schools that had 100 percent of its students pass a section of the test include East Newton's fourth-grade class in language arts, Heard-Mixon's third-grade class in language arts and the Theme School's fourth- and sixth-grade class in reading.
Data released this week show that out of the 270 testing categories, students at the school level increased scores on the CRCT in 167 opportunities and matched previous year's totals in another 15.
"What's truly significant about these latest scores is the fact that NCSS is now surpassing or equaling state performance in eight areas on the CRCTs," said Mathews. "To equal or surpass the state in so many areas is a new development for our school system and our personnel have much to be proud of."
Scores are expected to improve once summer retest data is included later this year.
More information about the CRCT is available on the GaDOE Web site, www.gadoe.org.