The Richmond County School System showed overall gains on the 2012 Criterion Referenced Competency Tests, but individual school achievement compared with last year fluctuated greatly in many cases.
The number of third-graders meeting or exceeding mathematics standards jumped 18 percentage points to 96.6 percent at Freedom Park Elementary School, according to school-by-school results released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Education.
However, in the same grade and subject, the number of pupils meeting or exceeding standards at Craig-Houghton Elementary School dropped 17 percentage points to 32.6 percent.
Comparing scores of one grade from year to year can be complicated because the data sets deal with a different pupils, said Carol Rountree, the director of student services. The third-graders in 2011 could have different learning patterns and abilities compared with the third grade class of 2012.
Year-to-year comparisons in a grade are often used to measure the effectiveness of a curriculum change or instruction tool, but the district looks at overall longitudinal growth to judge achievement, she said.
“If you used (a tool) one year and did not use it the next, it helps us to see if third graders respond to it,” Rountree said.
She said the fluctuations seen in the grades are common for a district with such high mobility as Richmond County.
But whether schools made drops or gains, the significance the CRCT carries has evolved this year. This is the first time the scores will not be used to determine if schools met Adequate Yearly Progress standards, which labeled schools as failing if a certain number of pupils in a subgroup did not show improvement.
Instead, this year’s CRCT results will be used alongside other
indicators to give schools a numerical score on a new index to replace the No Child Left Behind standards Georgia used since 2001.
The College and Career Readiness Performance Index will take into account CRCT, reading level, career awareness activities and fine arts participation among many other indicators.
Because the state is still transitioning to the new index, the weight each indicator will have on a school’s final score is still being determined, according to state Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza. Schools will have their scores no later than March, he said.
“There will be significance for the CRCT of course, but it won’t be the only indicator that goes into accountability purposes,” Cardoza said.
The school-by-school results give a narrower look into the district and state results released earlier this summer. The earlier results showed pupils in Georgia made encouraging gains except in math and science in some grade levels.
The CRCT tests pupils in grades three through eight in reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies to determine how well pupils grasp required skills.
In Richmond County, schools that celebrated 100 percent pass rates on CRCT subjects were C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet, A.R. Johnson Health Science, and Engineering Magnet and John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet schools.
One of the lowest pass rates of any grade or school was Meadowbrook Elementary School’s third grade, which had 21.9 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards in social studies.