Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CRCT Results Show Progress

Student performance is rising and the achievement gap is closing in every area where the state's new curriculum has been implemented for more than one year.

The official statewide results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) were released today and show improvement across the board on the 25 exams that have been aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for two or three years.

"These results provide further proof that our teachers are doing a great job implementing our new curriculum and should be commended for their hard work," Superintendent Cox said. "It also shows that when you raise expectations, Georgia students will rise up and meet that higher bar in all areas."

Among the highlights of the report:

- Mathematics, grade 7: The pass rate was 80 percent, an increase of six points in one year.
- Science, grade 7: Seventy-five (75) percent of students passed the science CRCT, an increase of 12 points in two years.
- Reading, all grades: Eighty-seven (87) percent or more of students in all grades passed the reading CRCT and the pass rate increased in all areas.

Achievement Gap is Closing

Even as student achievement increased in all racial subgroups, the achievement gap between minority students and white students closed in all areas where the GPS has been in place for more than one year.

"Student achievement is improving for all of our students, but our African-American and Hispanic students are making substantial progress each year under our new standards," Superintendent Cox said. "We still have a long way to go, but I know if this trend continues, Georgia can be one of the first states in the union to erase the achievement gap."

Among the highlights of the score report:

- Reading, grade 4: The pass rates for African-American (81%) and Hispanic (83%) students have increased 11 points respectively in two years. The achievement gap has closed 8 points for each group.
- Mathematics, grade 7: The pass rates for African-American (70%) and Hispanic (77%) students increased 8 points respectively in one year. The achievement gap closed 5 points in each area.
- Science, grade 7: The pass rates for African-American (62%) and Hispanic (69%) students have increased 15 points and 16 points respectively in two years. The achievement gap has closed by 6 or more points.

Performance on New Tests

In 2008, there were eight CRCTs that were aligned to the GPS for the first time - mathematics in grades 3-5 and 8; science in grade 8 and social studies in grades 6-8.

The results of these tests are not comparable to last year, when the test was aligned to the old curriculum. In each case, the new test was more rigorous and required higher order thinking.

"These results give us a new, realistic baseline to work from," said Superintendent Cox. "We are holding our students to a higher standard so that when they get their diploma it will mean they are truly ready for the demands of the 21st century."

Seventy-two (72) percent of 5th graders and 62 percent of 8th graders passed the new GPS-aligned CRCT in mathematics. In science, about 60 percent of 8th graders passed the new CRCT.

"While these are not the type of results we have seen in the past, these pass rates are more in line with what we are seeing on national assessments," Superintendent Cox said.

"As a state, we must face the reality that our students need more advanced mathematics and science skills to be successful in the 21st century," she said. "If we don't raise standards in these and other core areas, we are doing a disservice to our students and our state."

The results of the grade 6 and 7 social studies exams were invalidated due to alignment issues on the test. Groups of educators and curriculum experts have made preliminary revisions to the curriculum in these areas. These revisions will be made available for public comment by the end of the week.

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