While only raw scores have been released to the school systems, the preliminary numbers don’t look good.
Statewide, only a 20 to 30 percent pass rate is expected in both sixth- and seventh-grade social studies.
Eighth-grade math scores also are expected to be low. In both areas, students were being tested on a new curriculum, so scores cannot be compared with last year’s test, state and local officials said.
Superintendent Marvin Williams was expecting a dip in this year’s CRCT scores because of new testing standards, but the results he got Monday afternoon was what he called a “nose dive.”
“This is certainly not what we would like it to be,” Williams said, referring to a dismal percentage failure rate for Polk County’s fifth and eighth-grade students.
No specific rates have been released yet from the state department, but Williams did have preliminary figures from Polk students to share earlier this week.
For fifth-grade math students, Williams said the reported failure rate was anywhere from 27 to 57 percent. Reading faired better with a 10 to 26 percent failure rate.
In middle school, the math failure rate was capped from 39 to 49 percent, while reading was figured at 10 to 16 percent. In third-grade reading, a 6 to 22 percent failure rate was reported.
“We should have hard figures later this week,” Williams said on Tuesday morning. Williams also said that hundreds of school districts across the state are struggling this week with test results.
According to State School Superintendent Kathy Cox, Georgia’s pass rate on eighth-grade mathematics should be around 60 percent. Williams said that was surprising. “I really thought it would be better than that.”
“When you raise standards and expectations, it is not unusual to see a temporary dip in the percent of students who are meeting those expectations,” Cox said. “The eighth-grade mathematics GPS [curriculum] and the CRCT are very rigorous. For instance, up until last year, only a handful of students were exposed to algebra in grade eight. This year, every eighth-grader is taking algebra as well as statistics and geometry.”
The CRCT test results will have a major impact on the Polk School District as it means that each fifth and eighth-grade student that failed must retake the CRCT and pass before being moved up a grade.
Summer school classes will be offered to help students who need help, Williams said.
The state department has asked that all districts keep detailed records on remediation and retesting costs during the summer. Their hope is to provide money to offset these expenses.
Both Floyd County and Rome school superintendents expressed concerns about the scores.
“While we don’t have any official reports, only raw data, it’s evident there’s a problem with the curriculum or test, not the teachers or students,” said Lynn Plunkett, superintendent at Floyd County Schools, where 66 percent of sixth-graders and 88 percent of seventh-graders appear to have failed the social studies test.
While some in the state are seeking to have the scores erased, that doesn’t appear likely to happen.
“The teachers taught the new curriculum, but it’s clear the test results will not be invalidated,” Plunkett said. “The board and I don’t see the scores as valid or representative of what our children know how to do.”
State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox held a conference call with superintendents across the state to discuss the results. Cox said she is gathering a panel of social studies teachers to study the curriculum and test to determine how to address the situation to improve student achievement next year, but Plunkett felt the scores need to be invalidated.
“I was really disappointed with the conference call,” said Plunkett.
“They need to re-evaluate everything,” said Gayland Cooper, Rome City Schools superintendent, who saw only 30 percent of sixth- and seventh-graders pass the social studies portion.
Cooper said 30 percent of eighth-grade math test takers will have to retake the test and go to summer school.