Newton CRCT scores show mixed results

COVINGTON — The Newton County School System recently received its scores for this past year’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests from the Georgia Department of Education, surpassing the state average in some areas, but falling below the state’s average in others.

A statewide standardized test for grades three through eight, the CRCT measures the academic areas of reading, English language arts, math, science and social studies. The test only assesses areas outlined in the Georgia Common Core, which is the curriculum that educators in the state are required to teach. Subject areas are scored in a way that 850 is considered to be exceeding the state’s standards, while scores of 800-849 are considered to be meeting the standards.

Some CRCT areas for Newton, such as science, have seen both an increase and decrease in scores over the past year, depending on grade levels. In 2013, 72.6 percent of Newton sixth-graders met or exceeded the state standards on the CRCT science score, compared to 75.1 percent accomplishing the same this year. Eighty-one point seven percent of Newton seventh-graders met or exceeded the CRCT science standards this year — the highest percentage of any NCSS grade level to do so on the science portion in 2014. However, this is a decrease from last year, when 84.8 percent of NCSS seventh-grade students were able to meet or exceed the CRCT science standards. The CRCT seventh-grade state science average for meeting or exceeding standards was this year was 84.2 percent.

On the social studies side, NCSS has seen mixed results, as well. With 85.9 percent of Newton third-graders meeting or exceeding the state’s standards, they scored higher than the state average of 83.7 percent. Last year’s CRCT scores show that 83.1 percent of NCSS third-grade students met or exceeded the social studies standards. Although third-graders outperformed social studies state standards, NCSS fifth-grade students did not. The state average for fifth-graders meeting or exceeding CRCT social studies standards this year was 80.7 percent, while 79.5 of Newton fifth-graders did so. The 2013 fifth-grade social studies CRCT state average was 81.2 percent.

The highest scoring CRCT area for NCSS this year was sixth-grade reading, with 96 percent of students meeting or exceeding the state standards. On average, 97.2 percent of sixth-graders statewide met or exceeded the reading standards. While still below the state average, NCSS has seen a slight increase in sixth-graders’ CRCT reading scores in the past year, with 2013’s scores showing 95.7 percent of students meeting or exceeding these standards.

“We are not satisfied with our results,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey in a press release. “With continued focus on our non-negotiable goals of more effective teaching and increasing students’ performance, we expect to see continuous improvement overall. We appreciate our parent and community partnerships and cannot emphasize enough the importance of the role both play in regards to students’ achievement. High expectations of our students coupled with appropriate educational and community supports will enable our students to be college and/or career ready.”

This was the last year that the CRCT will be administered in Georgia. It will be replaced in the upcoming school year with a new standardized test called Georgia Milestones. Described by the DOE as a consistent program for grades three through 12, Georgia Milestones is aligned with Common Core Georgia Performance Standards and Georgia Performance Standards. Georgia Milestones will test students on the same areas that they were tested on with the CRCT, except for reading.