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Posted: April 19, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Gearing up for the CRCT

Tests start Monday

Students in Newton County’s elementary and middle schools are preparing to take the annual Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) this week – a test designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards.

Students in grades one through eight are given the test every year and their knowledge is measured against statewide scores. All students are tested on reading, English/language arts and mathematics, while grades three through eight are additionally tested in science and social studies. It is a requirement of Georgia law that students participate in these tests.

According to a release from the Newton County School System, the CRCT assessments "yield information on academic achievement at the student, class, school, system, and state levels. This information is used to diagnose individual student strengths and weaknesses as related to the instruction of the GPC/QCC (Georgia Public Schools Quality Core Curriculum), and to gauge the quality of education in the county and throughout Georgia."

For third, fifth and eighth grade students, how they perform on the CRCTs are especially important because their scores will determine if those students are promoted to the next grade.

According to Dr. Shelia Thomas, Newton County School System Testing Director, parents should not encourage their children to cram for the tests but should work with their children to make sure they get plenty of sleep the nights before the test.

"Being in attendance and on time each day is very important," she said. In addition, she advised parents to make sure their children eat a nutritious breakfast the morning of the tests. if a child wears glasses, be certain that he or she wears them to school each day of the testing period. "Above all," said Thomas, "encourage your child to do his or her very best without creating anxiety."

In Newton County there were 1,484 first grade students tested in reading last year and 1,486 tested in math; 1,440 second grade students tested in reading and 1,443 tested in math; 1,468 third grade students tested in reading and 1,473 tested in math; 1,500 fourth grade students were tested in reading and 1,499 were tested in math.

In fifth grade there were 1,452 students tested in reading and 1,453 tested in math, 1,455 tested in science and 1,452 tested in social studies; in sixth grade there were 1,415 students tested in reading and the same number tested in math, and 1,414 tested in science; there were 1,496 seventh-graders tested in reading, 1,499 in math and 1,501 in science and in eighth grade there were 1,381 students tested in reading, 1,378 tested in math, 1,373 in science and ,1369 in social studies system-wide.

As of April 2 there were a total of 1,455 first grade students in the public schools, 1,527 second-graders, 1,545 third-graders, 1,445 fourth grade students and 2,829 fifth-graders. In middle school there were 1,450 sixth grade students, 1,467 seventh grade students and 1,503 eighth-graders.

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