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Preliminary CRCT test results show improvement
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Statewide scores for the test that determines schools’ success were released Wednesday, and most subject areas showed improvement.

The Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests assess students in grades 1-8 in reading, English/language arts and mathematics.

Third- through eighth-graders are also tested in science and social studies.

This year’s tests showed improvement in 25 of 34 content areas, no change on six tests and a decrease on three tests — second grade reading, second grade English/language arts and first grade mathematics.

“These results provide further evidence that our teachers are doing a great job implementing the Georgia Performance Standards and they are to be commended for their hard work,” State Superintendent Kathy Cox said. “It also shows that when you raise expectations, Georgia students will rise up and meet that higher bar.”

The scores show a second consecutive year of improvement for elementary and middle school students after tougher state standards caused some scores to drop.

System and school level results should be released in the next few weeks.

Rockdale County students showed slight improvement over last year's CRCT results overall, according to preliminary results presented at the Thursday Board of Education work session.

Grades 1-5 had improvements compared to last year in the number of students that passed, by one percent in reading, from 92 to 93 percent. There was a two percent improvement in English/Language Arts, from 90 percent to 92 percent. There was a two percent improvement in Math, from 85 to 87 percent.

Grades 6-8 saw the percent of students performing according to standard improve by two percent in reading, decrease by one percent in English Language Arts, and increase by two percent in math.

On the other side, the number of students that did not pass the tests, in grades 3, 5, and 8 continued its general downward trend over the last three years.

The biggest change was the drop in the eighth graders that failed the math portion. That number was 18 percent in 2007, jumped to 44 percent in 2008, went down to 28 percent in 2009, and was 19 percent in 2010. The 2008 spike in the number of eighth graders that did not pass the math portion occurred after a curriculum change was instituted, said cabinet members.

"This is a much more rigorous math across the state," pointed out Eugene Baker, assistant superintendent in the Office of School Improvement. "Our eight graders are taking what would have been in the ninth grade a few years ago."

In other BOE business:
- The BOE will vote on the proposed 2010-2011 budget this Thursday, June 17, 7 p.m. at the Administration Building on Main Street. No members of the public showed up for the June 10 public hearing on the budget.

- Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis reported that the state indicated the employer health insurance rates that the school system pays to the state would go up by about 2 percent.

"It should end up being a wash," said Davis, because the state indicated it would provide more revenue dollars to make up that increase. He cautioned that the figure could change.


Carolyn Crist of The Times contributed to this article.