Rate of failure on test surges

State and local school officials scrambled Wednesday to deal with the unexpectedly high failure rates of mandated tests that Georgia eighth-graders are required to pass in order to advance to high school.

 

The statewide failure rate is about 40 percent, and even in usually high-scoring Columbia County, Superintendent Charles Nagle said 27 percent of his eighth-graders failed the test's math portion.

"We knew that there was going to be a dip," Mr. Nagle said Wednesday. "We were not anticipating that it would be this dramatic."

Mr. Nagle said 462 of the system's eighth-graders failed the math CRCT this year. Last year only 162 eighth-graders didn't pass.

Richmond County continues to crunch its numbers, but Carol Rountree, director of guidance, testing and research, said Wednesday the increase in the number of pupils needing to attend summer school this year will be significant.

Georgia's Department of Education has been phasing in a new, more rigorous curriculum with tougher standardized tests. This year was the first for eighth-graders to take the new math test, and also the first for sixth- and seventh-graders to take a new social studies test, which only 20 to 30 percent passed.

That dismal showing on the social studies portion prompted Georgia Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox to announce Wednesday that she would throw out the results.

"Simply, the performance appears to be implausibly low, which raised serious questions," Ms. Cox said in a statement to local superintendents. "Accordingly, the results will be invalidated. It is important to note that we found nothing technically incorrect with the scoring of these assessments."

WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?

IN RICHMOND COUNTY: School officials have sent letters to the parents of children who failed the math portion of the CRCT to advise them of their options. Middle school CRCT remediation classes are scheduled June 4-26 at Tutt, Morgan Road and Spirit Creek middle schools.

IN COLUMBIA COUNTY: School officials have contacted parents whose children failed the test. They recommend children attend summer remediation classes by contacting their home schools. The summer session will be June 3-20 at Evans High School.


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

If you would like to discuss how your child has been affected by the CRCTs, contact Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com, or Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.