Originally created 01/19/01

Schools see increase in scores



Richmond County pupils joined the state trend of improving test scores, while Columbia County pupils kept their status quo with marks well above state averages.

Although Richmond County marks were below the state average on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, scores showed that third-, fifth- and eighth-graders taking the test continued to make steady progress, particularly in the area of language arts.

The scores were part of state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko's annual "report cards," released Thursday for every school and school system in the state.

In Richmond County, test scores for the 1999-2000 school year showed the most marked improvement for eighth grade, where language arts scores jumped from 52 percent to 58 percent in the past year. But that was still below the the state average of 62 percent.

Augusta eighth-grade scores also markedly improved in reading vocabulary, from 37 percent in the 1998-99 school year to 42 percent this year, finishing four points behind the state average of 46 percent.

Columbia County also saw its biggest gains among eighth-grade scores, with a gain of five percentage point in mathematics. The average score of 71 percent was well above state average of 57 percent.

"I have not seen the report card, but I'm very pleased that we continue doing as good as we are," said Columbia County school board Chairwoman Roxanne Whitaker.

That's something to be proud of. With (the Education Reform Act) 1187 there will be changes in middle school, but we just aim to stay on top of the rest of the state," The eighth-grade ITBS scores also showed three percentage points of improvement in the area of language arts, with 71 percent this year, compared to 62 percent at the state level.

The only other notable gain in Columbia County was in the fifth-grade ITBS in reading vocabulary, which rose 3 points to 59 percent, compared with 48 percent at the state level.

For the sixth year in a row, the report cards show rising trends in ITBS scores, SAT scores, teacher salaries and reduced dropout rate.

In Richmond County, the graduation rate was 69.1 percent, compared with the state average of 70.7 percent; in Columbia County, that rate was 78.3 percent.

The percentage of 11th-graders passing the Georgia High School Graduation Test on the first try improved from 58 percent last year to 60 percent this year in Richmond County in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. The state average was 71 percent, In Columbia County, the scores passing remained steady at 85 percent both years.

Neither Columbia County Superintendent Tommy Price nor Richmond County Superintendent Charles Larke had reviewed the report cards Thursday.

Report cards

Systems ranked by school completion rate:

  • Columbia County, ranks 28th with 78.3 percent
  • Richmond County, ranks 83rd with 69.1 percent
  • Burke County, ranks 125th with 63.4 percent
  • Dropout rate for grades 9-12:

  • Burke County ranks 49th with 8.9 percent
  • Richmond County ranks 111th with 6.1 percent
  • Columbia County ranks 124th with 5.6 percent
  • Reach Melissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113.

    Statewide Criterion Referenced Competency Tests results for the 1999-2000 school year as shown in percentages.

    Grade 4;reading; language arts; mathematics

    Below standard; 35; 29; 38

    At standard; 37; 55; 51

    Exceeds standard; 28; 16; 11

    Grade 6

    Below standard; 29; 39; 34

    At standard 39; 45; 49

    Exceeds standard; 32; 16; 17

    Grade 8

    Below standard; 25; 34; 46

    At standard; 37; 49; 43

    Exceeds standard; 38; 16; 11

    Source: Georgia Department of Education