8th-graders excel on state’s CRCT scores
by Celia Shortt
More eighth-graders in Georgia are exceeding standards in all areas of the CRCT, according to the test results released by the state Department of Education.
The CRCT is the Criterion Referenced Competency Test, which third through eighth grade students take to measure their progress from the previous school year.
According to statewide results released by the Department of Education Thursday, eighth-graders showed an eight percentage point increase in reading, a two point increase in English/Language Arts, a three point increase in math and in science, and a 2 percent increase in social studies.
Elementary and middle school students throughout Georgia also secured gains, as they met or exceeded the standards on 14 of 30 content areas of the CRCT.
With the state results being released on Thursday, the district results should be released by the end of the month.
“The state informed us we will get district scores by the end of June,” said Dean Jackson, public information officer for the Coweta County School System. “Our schools performed well last year … We’re looking forward to the release of those scores at the end of the month.”
In a press release announcing the results, GaDOE officials said the district level results will be available no later than June 26, and school level results will be available no later than July 10.
This year is the last for Georgia’s students to take the CRCT. Starting next year, third to eighth grade students will begin using the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.
Georgia Milestones will replace the CRCT and the EOCT – the End of Course Test for high school students – and provide one continuous testing program for all students in third through 12th grades.
Coweta schools testing coordinator Dr. Peggy Guebert said local educators have been anticipating this new test for about a year.
“It’s going to be a much more rigorous test,” said Guebert.
The reason for the increased rigor is to look for better indicators for student readiness after graduation to enter college or the workplace.
“We need to know that students are being prepared, not at a minimum-competency level but with rigorous, relevant education, to enter college, the workforce or the military at a level that makes them competitive with students from other states,” said Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge in an earlier press release, announcing the new system earlier this month.
Barge also said the “increased expectations for student learning” in the new test may mean lower scores in the first year than previous CRCT or EOCT scores.
“With it being new, we know there will be lower scores, but those will be statewide,” said Guebert.
The new test will also be completely online in the next five years, with more of the test being online each year until then.
Guebert says CCSS has had a “very positive experience” with the online testing they have done so far, and a recent technology plan approved by the Coweta County Board of Education includes the necessary upgrades for the complete test to be online.
“It will positively impact technology in school,” she said. “The testing administration and testing security online will be much better.”
Part of the increased rigor of the new test will be the implementation of open ended questions.
State education officials said in the earlier press release this type of question will “better gauge students’ content mastery.”