Seven schools from Richmond and Columbia counties were among 156 cited this week under the Georgia Department of Education's new accountability system.
The so-called "focus" schools are one step above the state's worst performing schools - called "priority" schools - which were revealed last week.
"Focus" schools are ones with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent over two years or have large gaps between the highest and lowest achieving subgroup of students on campus. Subgroups can be determined by race, special needs and family income.
The state was one of 10 to win waivers last month from the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The other designations for school performance are: alert schools and reward schools. All designations will be handed out by the fall.
In Columbia County Cedar Ridge Elementary and Grovetown Middle schools were named. In Richmond County Lake Forest Hills Elementary, Langford Middle, Academy of Richmond Academy, Murphey Middle and Tutt Middle schools were included on a list.
To earn relief from the federal No Child Left Behind law, state officials recently developed the Career Ready Performance Index to gauge school achievement.
While state officials refine the index, federal officials required them to use such labels as "Focus Schools" to identify poor performing schools.
The Focus Schools list identifies middle and elementary schools with the largest performance gaps between subgroups on such exams as the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. High schools make the list if they have graduation rates less than 60 percent over the past two years.
Schools making the list must offer tutoring services, professional development and other programs to overcome their deficiencies, said state DOE spokesman Matt Cardoza.
Columbia County schools Director of Elementary Education Michele Sherman said local officials still are waiting to find out what subgroups need improvement.
"We don't know why they were chosen," she said.
Currently, state officials are developing a "calculator" to help schools determine in what areas they failed to adequately perform, Cardoza said. It might be available next week.