Barrow expects 400 eighth-graders to fail math CRCT

WINDER - Barrow County school system officials expect to see about 400 eighth-graders fail the math portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test once all the scores have been calculated. School officials say the low scores are a result of problematic tests.

That figure is preliminary and Barrow County school officials expect to release firm numbers in mid-June.

A press release issued by the school system on Tuesday estimates that figure to be about 40 percent of the total number of eighth-graders. Lisa Leighton, spokeswoman for the Barrow County School system did not return calls requesting the number of eighth-graders in the district.

That percentage is in line with overall predictions for the state made by the state department of education, the release said.

Eighth-grade students who do not pass the math or reading portions of the CRCT will not be promoted to the next grade. However, those students will be offered supplemental instruction and can retake the test. School officials expect to have a finalized plan for that remedial instruction in place today, said Claire Miller, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Both Miller and State Superintendent Kathy Cox attribute the low scores to the transition into new Georgia Performance Standards begun three years ago. This is the first year of those standards being implemented in eighth grade, Miller said.

"School administrators expected a tough transitional year into the new GPS in eighth-grade math," Miller said. "However, nobody anticipated these results since our teachers are working tirelessly to teach our students. Typically, when you see a striking shift in student performance across the state, it suggests that there are issues with the tests."

Cox also attributed those drops to a more demanding curriculum and more difficult tests.