Originally created 09/24/05

Schools promote failing pupils



Most of the pupils who failed the retake of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in Richmond County were promoted to the next grade, according to figures released by the school system Wednesday.

Of the 259 third-graders retaking the CRCT, 115 failed to meet the state standards in reading required to be promoted to fourth grade. Despite that, 78 were promoted after successful appeals and 18 were held back.

In fifth grade, 289 of the 574 pupils failed to the meet state standards in math or reading during the retake of the CRCT. Of those, 177 were promoted after successfully appealing and 20 were denied appeals.

"It wasn't a given that if you didn't pass that you would move on through appeal," said Dr. Carol Rountree, the director of the Guidance, Testing and Research Department.

She said the promotion figures aren't "astronomical."

Many schools promoted all pupils who appealed, including Blythe Elementary School, which promoted 26 pupils after appeal, and Southside Elementary School, which promoted 24 after appeal.

All pupils who fail the required portions of the CRCT, whether they are promoted on appeal on not, receive individualized plans to address the weaknesses identified in the standardized test, Dr. Rountree said,

Dr. Rountree said that when a pupil fails to meet standards in the required portion of the test, each school follows the procedures outlined in the law to form a committee, consisting of the principal, a parent and the pupil's teacher. Counselors or special education staff, who might have additional information, also could serve on the committee.

The committee comes to a consensus and acts in the "best interest of the child," Dr. Rountree said.

She said research shows that each time a pupil repeats a grade, it increases the likelihood the pupil will drop out of school.

Many of the skills missed in one grade can be picked up in the next, Dr. Rountree said. She said promotion along with the individualized plan sometimes benefits the pupil more than holding the pupil back.

The state is phasing in the portions of the CRCT required for promotion.

Last year was the first year fifth-graders had to pass the reading and math portion of the test. This year, eighth-graders must pass the reading and math portions.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Promotion figures



Third grade

115: Number failing required portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test retake



78: Number promoted after failing



18: Number held back after failing



Fifth grade

289: Number failing required portion of the Criterion- Referenced Competency Test



177: Number promoted after failing



20: Number held back after failing



Source: Richmond County Board of Education