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Richmond, Columbia County schools show improvements, still struggle with math

Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:18 PM
Last updated Friday, Aug 1, 2014 12:30 AM
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Richmond County schools are making gains in literary- and economics-based subjects, but some high schools are still struggling with math scores according to school level End of Course Test results released by the Georgia Department of Education.

Roughly 93,000 students took the EOCT this year, a test counting for 15 to 20 percent of their final grades, depending on when the student enrolled in ninth grade. Middle-school students in Richmond and Columbia counties began taking the algebra portion of the exam last year, and Richmond County’s Pine Hills Middle School took the physical science portion of the test this year.

Schools in Richmond County made improvements in literature-based subjects. Cross Creek High School made small gains in American literature and ninth-grade literature, with 88 percent and 84 percent of students passing those sections, respectively. About 73 percent of T.W. Josey students passed ninth-grade literature, jumping 16 percentage points from last year.

Cross Creek Principal Jason Moore said working alongside teachers and data-mining contributed to his school’s improved scores.

“We have very skilled teachers and a phenomenal staff. They did a great job helping get our students ready in these categories,” Moore said. “Teachers also collaborated with me and really looked hard at our student data, and adjusted instruction based on that. If you don’t do anything with the data, you won’t get results.”

Several Richmond County schools also increased their scores in economics and physical science. About 83 percent of Cross Creek High School students passed the economics section of the test, a 9 percentage point increase from last year. All Pine Hills Middle School students passed the physical science portion of the EOCT.

In Columbia County, most literature scores remained high. About 99 percent of Greenbrier High School students passed the American literature test section, a roughly two percentage point increase from last year’s pass rates.

But many high schools still struggled with the math section of the exam. In Richmond County, only Johnson and Davidson magnet schools had pass rates of 50 percent or higher on the algebra section. Scores on the Math II section were also low, with Glenn Hills High School, T.W. Josey and Hephzibah High having pass rates in the single digits.

Columbia County high schools performed at a higher level on the algebra and Math II sections, but in some cases a substantial minority of students struggled to meet testing standards. Most high schools in the county had at least a 50 percent pass rate in both sections, but many schools showed small drops in scores from 2013 to 2014.

Middle schools in Richmond and Columbia counties had much higher pass rates in algebra than their older peers. Eighty-seven percent of students at Freedom Park and 81 percent of Morgan Road students passed the algebra section, representing double-digit jumps in percentage points from last year. In Columbia County, almost 99 percent of students at Stallings Island Middle School passed algebra this year.

Richmond County Superintendent Frank Roberson said constantly changing state mathematics standards, which left little time for teachers to adapt, contributed to the low pass rates in math-related EOCT sections.

“There are gaps between the content objectives, instructional approach and adequate time for teacher training in advance of testing,” Roberson said in a district release. “These gaps are being examined closely by this school system and the state to ensure that they are addressed.”

This will be the last year Georgia students will undergo EOCT testing. The exam is being replaced next year by the Georgia Milestones testing system, which grades 3-12 will take.

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corgimom
33199
Points
corgimom 08/01/14 - 12:36 am
2
0
Holy crud, algebra is algebra

Holy crud, algebra is algebra and math is math. It doesn't change. My father had a math book copyrighted 1904, and I used to work the problems in it, and I had no problems doing so.

TWO- only TWO- high schools in Richmond County had a pass rate of over 50 percent. Algebra is a requirement for college.

I blame this on the RCBOE and the Superintendent of Schools. THEY are responsible for curriculum being taught.

WHY isn't this happening?

Guess RC doesn't have to worry anytime soon about a STEM magnet, do they?

jimmymac
41331
Points
jimmymac 08/01/14 - 08:44 am
0
0
CORGI
Unpublished

You gave the reason you did well in math. Your dad had an Algebra book that you used. I bet you none of the failed students have any books that belonged to their parent in the house. You noticed I didn't say parents! As you know education starts in the home. Teachers cannot over come apathy from parents.

avidreader
3259
Points
avidreader 08/01/14 - 08:50 am
1
0
Dr. Roberson!

Before we wince with condemnation, Dr. Roberson is correct on this one. The state BOE lost its way when changing the rules abruptly and leaving the teachers out in the cold. This new math curriculum is tough, especially for children who now have to analyze their results in deference to simply knowing the answer. It's kind of like English (a foreign language to many students) -- It's easy to define "extended metaphor", but difficult to recognize it in context. State-mandated tests are no longer basic-skills' tests; they require insight through analysis. And they should. However, once again I will kick the dead dog -- MANY of Richmond County's at-risk kids do not live in homes where academic nurturing is promoted (I'm attempting to use the proper euphemisms).

Hopefully, this downward spiral will stabilize when the powers-that-be get their acts together and figure out the problem. Teachers cannot succeed when the deck is stacked against them. And personally, I do not think that expensive computer software is the answer. Maybe our new superintendent will have some answers.

Pops
9050
Points
Pops 08/01/14 - 08:57 am
2
0
Just teach the math

Concentrate on teaching the subjects. Let the test scores take care of themselves. Like Corgimom said......algebra has not changed....

cush1944
8677
Points
cush1944 08/01/14 - 09:24 am
2
0
Education in the public

Education in the public schools has continually gotten worse since the 2nd worst president formed the department of education. It did for public schools what the Great Society did for black families.

Calisandpiper
21
Points
Calisandpiper 08/01/14 - 01:25 pm
1
0
Struggling Math Scores

Math principles have not changed. Today I understand that it is politically incorrect to require students to memorize certain math facts such as multiplication tables and other mental math stratergies. These should be in place during the elementary years. I have heard middle and high school teachers complain that students do not know the foundations on which to solve problems because memorization has not been stressed.There is nothing new under the sun and especially in education. Too many curriculum changes: not enough time to implement and test their validity.

ironpurps
186
Points
ironpurps 08/01/14 - 06:35 pm
0
0
Credit where credit is due

Give credit to Morgan Road and Cross Creek High schools. Congrats to Dr. Barnes and Dr. Moore, respectively, as well as their staffs. Next, good job students and parents! And, of course, the amazing teachers!

ironpurps
186
Points
ironpurps 08/01/14 - 06:37 pm
0
0
Where is the link for parents

Parents need the link to see the scores the Chronicle has.

corgimom
33199
Points
corgimom 08/02/14 - 02:50 pm
0
0
The problems with RCBOE

The problems with RCBOE started long before Obama and Carter, and NCLB, that horrible legislation that Bush implemented, is part of the problem, too.

There is only so much money that a school district has. Do you want to spend it on the kids that are learning, or do you want to pour money into teaching kids that either can't or don't want to learn, which is what NCLB did?

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