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CRCT scores climb for 8th grade students statewide

Thursday, June 12, 2014 6:13 PM
Last updated 10:38 PM
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Older students’ test scores increased statewide and younger pupils showed mixed results in the latest – and last – Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests results, released Thursday.

The exam took place this spring, with the Georgia Department of Education releasing results.

Eighth-graders, in particular, showed improvements, with the number of students exceeding standards increasing in all subjects covered by the exam. The number of eighth-grade students exceeding state standards in reading rose by 8 percent, by 2 percentage points in English language arts and in mathematics by 3 points.

On the lower “met standard” level, exam scores among elementary and middle school students were mixed. Percentages of elementary and middle school students meeting or exceeding standards rose in 14 of 30 grade-specific, content-area CRCTs taken this year, but eight areas showed no change, and percentages decreased in eight more.

Reading scores remained the constant among all grade levels, either increasing or remaining static.

The CRCTs were meant to test how well first through eighth grade students “acquire the skills and knowledge described in the state mandated content standards in reading, English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies,” according to the state Department of Education Web site. Students must meet or exceed state standards on the exam before moving forward to their next grade.

This will be the last year Georgia students will undergo CRCTs. The exam will be replaced by the Georgia Milestones testing system next year. According to an Department of Education news release, the Georgia Milestones will be more in line with Georgia’s current Common Core standards, and more rigorous in preparing students for college and future careers.

Results specific to school districts will be released later this month and results for individual schools will be released about July 10.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/13/14 - 04:31 am
New Test

From the story:

This will be the last year Georgia students will undergo CRCTs. The exam will be replaced by the Georgia Milestones testing system next year.

Yeah, and by changing tests, you do away with the notion of accountability. You will have nothing to compare the new test results with, no trend. You buy yourself six or eight years of breathing room as students sink into the mire of mediocrity.

Ga Patriot
Ga Patriot 06/13/14 - 07:19 am
You have no idea!

Blame the legislature and the Governor for changing the test. You have no idea what you are talking about regarding accountability. Under the new teacher evaluation system, 50% of a teacher's evaluation is determined by how much students improve. Scores from the new test 14-15, are supposed to be available in the fall of 15. Teacher evaluations for 15-16 will be affected by next year's test. Here's a question for you "little lamb". If your job was to make blueberry muffins and your job depended upon the muffins tasting much better every year, but you had ZERO control over the quality of the ingredients that you baked with, how long do you think you would have a job? Oh and even though you are expected to move heaven and earth to make the better muffins, your salary is actually going to go down every year. Now consider this, your boss is going to spend over $100 million dollars trying to find out how good the muffins taste, but not one penny to help you get better ingredients or more pay.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/13/14 - 08:20 am

I agree with you, Ga Patriot. The notion that overall academic achievement must improve each year is absurd. We are dealing with society as a whole, and students are part of that society. Society is not improving each year. Why should students?

thauch12 06/13/14 - 08:28 am

Teacher accountability...what a ridiculous notion. It's not like nearly every other profession requires productivity and performance. Teachers should most definitely be exempt from this kind of nonsense that identifies the ones that aren't quite so good at their job.

All sarcasm aside, the muffin baking example is ridiculous. Quite simply, a teacher's job is to teach. If they teach effectively, a classroom (note this is a small population, I'm not talking about individual students) should show some kind of progress (aka be able to demonstrate the fact that they learned something over the course of the year). It's not a ridiculous notion at all. You even somewhat control for differences in demographics by looking at progression within a school rather than a school system, state, or nation.

I'm not factoring out parental responsibility (it is most definitely a factor in the this equation) but no more excuses. The US performs pitifully bad compared to other industrialized countries in educational achievement. Our kids deserve better.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/13/14 - 09:24 am

No, thauch, you missed what Ga Patriot said. The "improvement" does not compare what the students know at the end of the year versus at the beginning of the year. Instead, the teachers are expected to have each year's class perform better than the previous year’s class. The returns are diminishing, and at some point there will be no year-to-year improvement.

corgimom 06/13/14 - 12:38 pm
thauch, you wouldn't say that

thauch, you wouldn't say that if you ever worked in a classroom.

Some years, you get really great kids, and you have a powerhouse year. Every day is a joy, and the kids just take off and go. They absorb it as fast as you throw it at them, and you have to scramble to keep ahead of them, they are so terrific.

Other years, you get a very low class, and every day is like running a marathon. And one exceptional child, depending on what the disability is, can be equivalent to 10 other students. And if you get more than one, God help everybody.

I tell you that from personal knowledge.

These poor teachers have no control over getting severely disabled kids- and they can suck the life out of a class and consume the bulk of the teacher's time.

I'm not talking about physical disabilities- those are the easy ones. It's the mentally ill, severely autistic, emotionally disturbed, schizophrenic, bipolar ones.

How would you like your career, your compensation based on that?

The muffin comparison was absolutely accurate.

And how would you like your compensation based on what a child answers on a test, especially when anything and everything can throw them off- and that's what you're judged by?

I've tested kids that I KNEW could do the concepts well and they bombed. But they weren't feeling well, or they had to go to the bathroom, or they wanted to go outside to recess, or they had just had a fight with their friend, or something exciting was happening outside, or somebody laughed and it broke their concentration. Or they were hungry and wanted to go to lunch. Or they didn't sleep well the night before, or their mama didn't put them to bed on time the night before- you name it, it affects a child. Or they just didn't feel like doing it that day. It wasn't an accurate representation of their knowledge, and I knew it.

Those outrageously expensive tests are worthless, because the test takers are CHILDREN, and kids act like kids.

And little kids can learn something in the 1st quarter, and if it isn't constantly reinforced, will forget it by the 2nd quarter- because they are little kids. And then later, when it's tested, they don't remember any of it. And sometimes it's not even quarter to quarter, just a span of 9 weeks is hard for them to remember new concepts if it isn't constantly reviewed. But there's no time to constantly review, because new material comes every day.

The teachers are in a no-win situation. It's just plain sad.

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