More than half of Columbia County pupils retested for the Criterion Reference Competency Tests passed the exam, as school officials presented the results Tuesday at a school board meeting.
Pupils in third, fifth and eighth grade who initially failed the CRCT were given a second chance to pass the test in May.
The Georgia Department of Education released system-level results earlier in July.
In third-grade reading, 32 of the 62 pupils retested have passed, rising 14 percentage points from those who retested in 2011. For reading, 22 of 47 fifth-graders passed, which resulted in a seven percentage point increase from 2011, while 13 of 25 eighth-graders passed, representing a nine point drop from last year.
In math, there was a rise in retest results from last year among both fifth-graders, by six percentage points, and eighth-graders, by three percentage points. Eighty one of the 149 fifth-grade pupils, and 101 of the 194 eighth-graders pupils passed the retest.
For the second consecutive year, retests were given during the school session instead of in summer.
School Superintendent Charles Nagle commended teachers for doing a “tremendous job” despite larger class sizes and funding cuts.
“We don’t want to just be a school system that meets the minimum criteria,” he said. “We want to exceed.”
Overall, the percentage of county pupils passing both the initial CRCT testing and retest administrations slightly increased or remained equal when compared to 2011, ranging from 94 to 99 percent.
“These are quite impressive,” School Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said of the scores.
The CRCT tests elementary- and middle-school pupils on their skills in reading, English and language arts, math, science and social studies.
In order to advance to the next grade level, Georgia law requires that third-, fifth- and eighth-graders pass the reading portion of the exam. Fifth- and eighth-graders must also pass the math section to move forward.
CRCT scores will be used as an indicator for a new index, The College and Career Readiness Performance Index, that will replace No Child Left Behind.
In previous years, the scores, coupled with attendance rates, had determined Annual Yearly Progress for elementary and middle schools.
School officials also announced results of the end-of-course tests that county high school, and some middle school, pupils took in spring. Pupils were tested on several subjects, including math, literature, biology and U.S. history.
The percentage passing the test exceeded the state in every subject, by 20 percent and higher in some cases. The results ranged from 96 percent passing American literature to 84 percent passing U.S. history.
“We have done a superb job,” Nagle said. “As you can see, we have room to grow.”
In other business, the school board accepted a $203,050 bid by Coca-Cola to provide water, sports drinks and fruit juices to county schools this school year.
Bids by HFW and Pepsi came in lower but were disqualified for not meeting all bid specifications.