Fifth-graders in Richmond and Columbia counties showed the most improvement on math and reading portions of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, according to results released by the state Thursday.
The third- and eighth-grade scores on the math and reading portions varied in both school systems, according to Georgia Department of Education data.
Students in the third grade must pass the reading portion of the statewide test to advance to the next grade, while fifth- and eighth-graders must pass that section and math. The test scores, along with attendance rates, determine whether elementary and middle schools make adequate yearly progress -- a mandate of the federal No Child Left Behind program.
State Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said Thursday that AYP results would be available later this month. The CRCT scores released Thursday do not reflect results of retests administered during summer school, Cardoza said.
About half of Richmond County's elementary schools showed increases in third-grade reading scores on the CRCT. There were few major increases or decreases on the reading portion for third-graders, but Wheeless Road and Garrett Elementary schools showed the most significant increase and decrease, respectively.
Wheeless Road's third-grade reading scores jumped 20.5 percentage points, with 50.9 percent passing the portion last year and 79.5 passing this year. Garrett Elementary's third-grade reading scores dropped from 96.4 percentage points to 78.6 percent this year.
Just two Columbia County elementary schools -- Evans and North Columbia -- showed slight drops in third-grade CRCT reading scores when compared to last year.
Richmond County's fifth-graders fared better on the reading portion than third-graders, and most passed the test's math portion. Twenty-one schools had fifth-graders with passing reading scores. Twenty elementary schools had fifth-graders with passing math scores.
C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School's fifth-grade reading scores were the highest with 98 percent of students passing. Jenkins-White Elementary Charter School had the lowest and biggest drop in fifth-grade reading scores, with passing scores dropping from 78.8 percentage points last year to 62.7 this year.
Hephzibah Middle School had the highest percentage of fifth-graders passing math with 87.3 percent. Only 37.9 percent of Blythe Elementary School's 66 fifth-graders passed the math portion -- the lowest percentage for the grade and subject.
Fifth-grade scores in reading and math for Columbia County schools was a mixed bag of soaring gains and crashing falls. Just five elementary schools -- South Columbia, Greenbrier, Brookwood, Euchee Creek and North Harlem -- posted gains in both categories.
Euchee Creek's netted a 20.8 percentage points jump in math scores to 94.9.
In math, Lewiston, Cedar Ridge and Bel Air elementary schools posted drops of 8.7 percent, 7.2 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. Westmont and North Columbia elementary schools gained in math by 13.6 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.
Eighth-graders at Richmond County schools showed improvement in reading and math scores. Seven schools showed increased scores on the reading scores, and two -- C.T. Walker and John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet -- had 100 percent passing rates in the subject. Only 21.1 percent of W.S. Hornsby K-8 students passed the math portion. Davidson's eighth-graders led with a 100 percent passing rate in math this year.
Eighth-graders at Columbia County's eight middle schools varied little when compared to the 2009 class.