Georgia students improved in this year’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, but official admit more work needs to be done.
Test Scores were up across the board this year, and the achievement gap between minority and white students in Georgia is also narrowing.
State School Superintendant Kathy Cox praised teachers and administrators for implementing a tougher state curriculum over the past few years without extra state funding.
“Congratulations to teachers, principals and local school board. And they did it despite all the junk we threw at them with no money," she told members of the State Board of Education.
But Cox warned that more improvements are needed. For example, a quarter of Georgia’s 8th graders failed the math portion of the CRCT. It’s a requirement for promotion to the 9th grade. While students can take the test again over the summer, some school systems had to cancel summer school due to budget cuts.
Here is the official press release from the Department of Education.
Kathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools
CRCT Results Show Progress
New Curriculum is Helping to Close the Achievement Gap
JUNE 9, 2010 -- Student performance is rising and the achievement gap is closing in the majority of grades and content areas on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).
The official statewide results of the CRCT were released today and show one-year improvement on 25 of the 34 content area tests with historical data. There was a decrease on three tests (grade 2 reading, grade 2 ELA, and grade 1 mathematics) and no one-year change on six tests.
"These results provide further evidence that our teachers are doing a great job implementing the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) and they are to be commended for their hard work," Superintendent Cox said. "It also shows that when you raise expectations, Georgia students will rise up and meet that higher bar."
Among the highlights of the report:
- Mathematics, grade 8: The pass rate was 74 percent, an increase of four points in one year and 12 points since GPS implementation (2008).
- Science, grade 7: Eighty (80) percent of students passed the science CRCT, a one-year increase of four points and an increase of 17 points since GPS implementation (2006).
- Reading, grade 5: Ninety (90) percent of students passed the reading CRCT, one-year increase of two points and an increase of nine points since GPS implementation (2006).
- Social Studies, grade 8: The pass rate was 70 percent, an increase of seven points in one year and 11 points since GPS implementation (2008).
Achievement Gap is Closing
Even as student achievement increased in almost every subgroup, the achievement gap between minority students and white students continues to narrow under the GPS. The gap is also shrinking between regular program students and English Language Learners (ELL).
"For the most part, achievement is improving for all of our students, but our African-American students, Hispanic students and English Language Learners are making substantial progress each year under our new standards," Superintendent Cox said. "There is still work to be done, but I am very pleased that our achievement gap continues to narrow."
Among the highlights of the score report:
- Reading, grade 3: The pass rates for English Language Learners (83%) increased 7 points in one year and 26 points since the implementation of GPS. The achievement gap between ELL and regular program students closed 5 points since last year and 19 points since GPS implementation.
- English Language Arts, grade 5: The pass rates for Hispanic students
(90%) have increased 16 points in five years compared to an increase of 4 points for White students. The achievement gap has closed by 12 points.
- Math, grade 7: The pass rates for English Language Learners (65%) have increased 5 points in one year and 20 points since the implementation of GPS. The achievement gap between ELL and regular program students closed 4 points since last year and 9 points since the beginning of the new curriculum.
Performance on New Tests
This year with the addition of grades 6 and 7 Social Studies, all content areas have transitioned to the GPS from the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC). The results of the grade 6 and 7 social studies exams were invalidated in 2008. Groups of educators and curriculum experts made revisions to the curriculum in these areas and the CRCT is now aligned to the revised curriculum. In each case, the new test was more rigorous and required higher order thinking.
"These results give us a more realistic picture of what our students know and can do in social studies," said Superintendent Cox. "We are holding our students to a higher standard so that when they get their diploma it will mean they are truly ready for the demands of the 21st century and prepared to be productive citizens in our country."
Sixty-four (64) percent of 6th graders and 71 percent of 7th graders passed the new GPS-aligned CRCT in social studies.
Scores went up in all grades and content areas where students must pass to automatically be promoted to the next grade level.
State law requires that students in third, fifth and eighth grade meet or exceed expectations 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.
Results from the 2010 CRCT report:
- Third-grade scores increased two (2) percentage points from last year to 90% in reading.
- Fifth-grade scores increased two (2) percentage points from last year to 90% in reading, and three (3) percentage points to 82% in mathematics.
- Eighth-grade scores increased two (2) percentage points from last year to 95% in reading, and four (4) percentage points to 74% in mathematics.