Columbia County school officials on Tuesday released the results of retests for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.
The percentage of pupils passing CRCT retests administered in May dropped this year in most subjects that carry consequences.
In third-grade reading, the percentage of pupils passing fell by 2 percentage points from 2010, to 38 percent passing this year.
Fifth-graders passing the math retests also fell by 2 percentage points to 48 percent. Math also proved problematic for eighth-graders, with the pass rate falling by 4 percentage points to 49 percent.
However, the percentage of eighth-graders passing reading showed a dramatic gain. The data show 63 percent of eighth-graders passed, an increase of 20 percentage points from last year.
The 41 percent of fifth-graders passing the reading retest is a one-point improvement from 2010.
The overall percentages of county pupils passing the CRCT on the initial testing in April and the retests remained high -- 93 percent or more in each consequential subject. Those figures vary from last year's.
The CRCT is used with attendance rates to determine an elementary or middle school's Adequate Yearly Progress, as set by the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Third-, fifth- and eighth-graders must pass reading to advance to the next grade. Fifth- and eighth-graders also must pass math.
Pupils who fail on the initial testing are allowed to retake the tests after remedial classes. This year, Columbia County retested failing pupils in May.
On the tests, pupil populations are subcategorized based on race, disabilities and socioeconomic status. If a large group in any subcategory doesn't meet the minimum standards set by the state Department of Education, then the entire school fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress. Officials have said only Grovetown and Harlem middle schools are in danger of not making AYP this year.