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State dept. releases final CRCT scores

POSTED: June 16, 2014 4:13 p.m.

The Barrow County School System will soon get to measure itself against the rest of the state for the last time using the Criterion-Reinforced Competency Test.

The State Department of Education released Thursday the state-level results for the final year of CRCT tests, taken by third-eighth graders.

According to the news release, district-level results will be available no later than June 26 and school-level results no later than July 10.

While the numbers will still be useful, staff in Barrow are already planning for the new test, Georgia Milestones, which will replace both the CRCT and End of Course Tests that high school students have taken.

Barrow director of students services Matt Thompson said in an earlier interview that the new tests would likely be a big upgrade over what has been in place, the issue was simply how long it would take for the tests to be implemented.

In a previous release regarding the adoption of the new test, State School Superintendent John Barge advised that scores would likely be lower the next couple of years than the ones just released due to districts having to implement the new testing.

The last CRCT numbers showed a big gain for eighth graders, according to the state release.

The percentage of Georgia’s eighth graders exceeding standards increased this year, including an eight percentage point increase in reading. Students showed a two percentage point increase in English language arts, a three percentage point increase in mathematics, a three percentage point increase in science, and a two percentage point increase in social studies.

"Reading is truly foundational to learning, so those increases in students exceeding standards are encouraging to see," Barge said. "As we transition to tests that more accurately reflect our standards – and the emphasis those standards place on critical thinking and comprehension – students’ reading abilities will help them to excel."

Overall the scores were only ok.

Students in Georgia’s elementary and middle schools had higher scores, as measured by the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards, on 14 of 30 content-area CRCTs taken this year. Eight areas showed no change, while another eight areas showed decreases. Decreases ranged from one to two percentage points while increases ranged from one to four percentage points. No decreases were experienced on Reading tests: Grades 4, 5 and 6 saw gains, while grades 3, 7 and 8 stayed the same.

Beginning next year, all students in grades 3-8 will take the Georgia Milestones. The new testing system is one consistent program across grades 3-12, rather than a series of individual tests, according to the release. It will include open-ended questions to better gauge students’ content mastery and, with some exceptions for special education students with specific testing accommodations, will be administered entirely online by the fifth year of implementation.



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