Banks County News

May 28, 2008


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Eighth graders see math CRCT success
Testing system draws criticism state-wide, some results thrown out
BY CHRIS BRIDGES
While an estimated 62 percent of the state’s eighth grade students passed the math portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), the percentage of Banks County Middle School student passing the test is near 80 percent, according to preliminary reports.
Of the 124,000 students in the eighth grade state-wide, approximately 50,000 students failed and will be attending summer school and retaking the test before becoming eligible to advance to the ninth grade. BCMS, meanwhile, will have only a handful of eighth grade students having to attend summer school.
“The pay off for me is to see the teachers and kids happy and successful,” said BCMS principal Matthew Cooper. “Our eighth grade math teachers were definitely prepared for the challenge. The success we have had is the result of a team effort. Our teachers, administrators and students work well together.”
Only preliminary data is available now from

the state school superintendent’s office.
State School Superintendent Kathy Cox indicated in various conference calls regarding the recent scores that students who fail the retest may appeal for promotion. Additionally, she noted that parents need to accept that the revised math standards were necessary.
“We were lulled into the sense middle school students were doing good work before when they weren’t,” she said.
Accounting for the success of the math scores locally, superintendent Chris Erwin said: “I am not surprised at the results being so good for Banks County because of the quality of students, teachers and administrators. It’s a new test and a more rigorous curriculum. Our teachers were prepared for the challenges of the new curriculum and have done an outstanding job delivering instruction for student mastery.”
BCMS had the highest passing rate among all area schools, local officials said. Preliminary data also indicates the school has a higher percentage of passing than the surrounding counties on other areas of the test including reading, English/language arts, science and social studies.
Cox has said, however, the CRCT results for sixth and seventh grade social students would be invalidated because they were “implausibly low.”
“After intense scrutiny of the standards and assessment, we have come to the conclusion that these scores are not trustworthy measures of student achievement in social studies,” Cox said. “This decision is based primarily on the conviction that we need to revise the curriculum and the assessments to better evaluate the knowledge and skills that represent student achievement in social students.”
Overall results for the CRCT must be certified by the Georgia Department of Education before being released to the public.



 

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