Rockdale students exceeded the state average in 29 of 30 areas, according to unofficial Criterion Referenced Competency Test figures tracked by Rockdale County Public Schools.
RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry cautioned that these figures are unofficial figures and might vary by a few percentage points from the final, official figures given by the state Department of Education. The Georgia DOE released state-wide CRCT figures this week. District- and school-specific figures will be released later in the year, by June 26 and July 10, respectively.
According to RCPS's tracking, Rockdale students exceeded state students in some areas by as much as 8 to 10 points. The only area where Rockdale did not exceed the state average was in seventh grade math, where 88 percent of Rockdale students met or exceeded and 90 percent of Georgia students did.
Autry praised the work of teachers and students. "I've been pleasantly pleased. Considering the distress we went through this last school year, our teachers and students overachieved."
The CRCTs are administered to grades 3-8 in subject areas including reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies. Third, fifth and eighth graders need to pass the test to be able to move onto the next grade. However this was the last year of CRCT.
Next year, the state moves on to a new standardized form of testing, the Georgia Milestone Assessments, applied from elementary to high school. The Milestone Assessments were only announced June 4, and details are still being made available, but the tests would eliminate the Ga. Writing Assessments for grades 3, 5, 8 and bring more open-ended questions to the tests.
"This may be something to discuss with the DOE," said Autry. "This is a game changer."
"In theory I appreciate and like the fact we're going to have one consistent evaluation system... There's a tremendous disconnect on what is asked of them on the CRCT versus on the EOCT."
The previous year, RCPS had seen the same cohort that had performed with an 85 percent meet/exceed rate on the CRCT in 8th grade have a 35 percent performance in ninth grade End of Course Tests.
However, the way the Milestone tests are being implemented are a concern, noted Autry.
"This is a massive initiative that will take some time for us to adjust to. We're not opposed to increased rigor. That's what we want to do. But you do it in a systematic way, not in a way that it's sprung upon people. We want to be very thoughtful in how we roll this out."
Across the state Georgia eighth graders' scores increased this year, the last year of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, showing an eight percentage point gain in reading. Grade 8 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.
Students in Georgia's elementary and middle schools secured gains, 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.