Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Preliminary CRCT Results Are Mixed for Fayette’s Students

Harder tests matching the state’s more rigorous curriculum have resulted in a larger drop than expected in the CRCT pass rate for eighth grade math.

Unofficial scores for eighth grade math, although lower than last year, look better for Fayette than across the state. Preliminary scores indicate that 80 percent of the county’s students passed compared to an estimated 60 percent statewide.

The lower pass rate in math is attributed to a tougher curriculum and a more rigorous test to match. Up until last year, only a small number of students were exposed to algebra in the eighth grade. This year, every eighth grader is taking algebra as well as statistics and geometry. Fayette’s unofficial pass rates for other grade levels (1-7) in math range from the high 80s to 90s.

Students in grades 5 and 8 must pass both the math and reading portions of the test to get promoted to the next grade level. Unlike math, preliminary results in reading across all grade levels (1-8) show a 95 percent and above pass rate with fewer students scoring in the “not meeting standards” category. The school system will offer free classes this summer to help students prepare for the retest that will be given in both subjects late June.

Scores also dropped more than expected in sixth and seventh grade social studies. Unofficial score results indicate that 41 to 45 percent of the county’s sixth and seventh graders passed. It is estimated that only 20 to 30 percent of sixth and eighth grade students statewide passed this portion of the test. The same unofficial scores for Fayette show a 95-96 pass rate for grades 3, 4 and 5.

The preliminary pass rates for sixth and seventh grade social studies are much lower than had been expected for the implementation of a new curriculum, according to State School Superintendent Kathy Cox. She says she is in the process of putting together a panel to determine what caused the poor performance. One area that will be examined is whether the middle grades social studies standards were clear enough about what students are expected to know at the end of the year.

The school system officials will closely monitor the state’s findings while they launch their own study into the situation.

“We in Fayette will be investigating these test results, reviewing our implementation of the new curriculum and making changes to address the needs of our students,” says School Superintendent John DeCotis.

While there is no system-level summary data at this time, the school system anticipates that the preliminary scores will closely mirror the actual scores that the state is expected to send to school systems in June.

Although preliminary test scores in some areas are lower than usual for the county, Fayette’s students are still outperforming students across the state. This is a testimony to the hard work that both teachers and students have put into the new curriculum.

“We would like to thank our teachers and students for their hard work and efforts in dealing with this new curriculum and testing program,” says DeCotis.

On other areas of the test, unofficial results in English/Language Arts and science show pass rates of the mid 80s-90s across all grade levels tested.

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