Newton County students have something to be proud of - 73 percent improvement ratio in Criterion Referenced Competency Tests for the 2011-12 school year.
Fifth graders beat the state average in reading (Newton County had 92.7 percent passing; the state average is 91.49 percent). Third and eighth grade students were close to the state's average, while fifth and eighth grade math scores were below the state average. However, across the state more students are performing better in the CRCT this year then they did last year.
According to numbers released Thursday, the NCSS improved in 22 out of 30 possibilities - the same as last year.
"We are on the right track as we can also note that NCSS showed ‘statistically significant' (not-by-chance) gains of three points or better in 13 instances in 2011-12 compared to only 10 instances in 2010-11," Mathews said in a press release.
Third-grade English scores increased by 1.2 points, and third-grade math by 0.8 points. While reading (1.4), science (3.0) and social studies (0.2) decreased for the county's third graders.
Students in fourth grade showed an increase of 5.3 in reading, 5.5 in language arts and 2.9 in social studies. They decreased in math by 2.6 points and science by 0.9 points.
Newton County's fifth graders had increases of 6.0 points in reading, 4.6 points in English/language arts, 1.1 points in science and a massive increase of 15.3 points in social studies. The only decrease seen in fifth grade was a 2.5 decrease in math.
Sixth and seventh graders saw only increases for the 2011-12 school year. In reading an increase of 1.8 points, 0.8 point increase in English/language arts, a 5.1 increase in math, a 0.2 increase in science and a 5.5 increase in social studies.
Seventh graders increased by 5.0 in reading, a 2.4 increase in English/language arts, a 4.3 increase in math, a 5.2 increase in science and a 9.7 increase in social studies.
Finally, the county's eighth-grade students didn't fare as well as the other two middle school grades, but they saw only slight decreases in reading (0.2) and math (4.6). They increased in English/language arts by 2.0 points, 5.0 points in science and 4.5 points in social studies.
"Thanks to all of our dedicated teachers, administrators and support staff who make the above improvements possible," said Mathews. "And, while we have areas wherein we still need to improve, I am confident that we will see the improvement."
The results are still preliminary, with retests occurring over the summer. School-level results are scheduled to be available no later than July 12.