County bests state CRCT results, falters in eight categories

LAWRENCEVILLE - More than 4,000 Gwinnett County students will have to retake a state-mandated test to continue to the next grade level, even as the county's scores bested state averages in all categories.

Students in third, fifth and eighth grade are required to pass the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT, to continue on to the next grade level.

In Gwinnett, students improved over last year's scores in seven of 15 categories, while faltering in eight.

Two large drops, in the third- and fifth-grade science exams, are the result of an altered science test, said Linda Mitchell, the executive director for student accountability, assessment and advisement. Scores fell from 89.2 percent of third-graders and 92 percent of fifth-graders passing last year's test to 78 percent of third-graders and 75.8 percent of fifth-graders meeting or exceeding state standards this year.

"It's not a score we would want in these areas," Mitchell said. "It's going to get better. We expect to see a steady improvement."

Mitchell said because some of the dips were small, the changes are nothing the school system is worried about. The test is changing year to year as the standards are updated and made more rigorous.

Students who fail a section of the test will have the opportunity to retake it in July after going to summer school. In all, about 4,266 students will have to retake a section. Mitchell said on average, between 50 and 70 percent of them pass the test on the second try and continue on to the next grade.

Mitchell said she expects some fluctuation from one year to the next and will continue to push students to finish in the top category, exceeds expectations.

"Unless they're all 100 percent meets or exceeds, we'll never really be satisfied," she said. "We don't ever want scores to go down, but we're not too terribly concerned."

The district will continue its focus on meeting grade level expectations, she said. Teachers will be able to intervene early if they think students are having trouble with a concept.

Next year, the science and social studies sections will change for eighth-graders and math sections will be altered for third-, fifth- and eighth-graders. In 2006, the reading test was changed in all grade levels.

Gwinnett Scores

Across the board, 88.5 percent of Gwinnett County third-, fifth- and eighth-graders passed the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT, a statewide test required for promotion to the next grade. In all three grades, 35,550 students took the test. Here, the percentage of students passing each subject on the exam is compared from 2006 to 2007.

Third grade

Subject 2006 2007

Reading 87.1 88.4

English/Language Arts

86.6 89.3

Math 93.9 93.8

Science 89.2 78

Social Studies 92 91.9

Fifth grade

Subject 2006 2007

Reading 86.6 89.7

English/Language Arts

88.4 90.6

Math 92.1 92.7

Science 92 75.8

Social Studies 94.5 92.5

Eighth grade

Subject 2006 2007

Reading 92.3 91.9

English/Language Arts

90.5 92

Math 86.1 89.3

Science 84.8 82.1

Social Studies 91.6 90