Sixteen Columbia County third-graders found out this week they made it to the fourth grade.
Initially failing the Criterion-Reference Competency Test in April, the elementary students passed a retest taken last month.
For the first time since the No Child Left Behind legislation was passed, promotion to the fourth grade required Georgia students to meet the minimum requirements on the reading portion of the CRCT.
Only two percent of Columbia County's third-graders failed to meet the reading requirements of the exam. Of the 55 students that failed, 24 took part in a summer remedial program and were retested June 17. All but eight pupils passed.
"We did extremely well," said Columbia County Schools Title I Director Gloria Hamilton, who received the results of the retest last week. "Everybody increased their scores except one. I'm notifying the schools now, so they can notify the parents."
Now that 16 more students passed the test, Hamilton said the percentage of third-graders in Columbia County who failed the test is less than one.
The eight students who failed might still advance to the fourth grade if their parents seek special consideration from a school board panel.
"The parents by law have the right to appeal that retention," Hamilton said. "At that point, the school has to set up a placement committee and hold a hearing with the parents, principal and teacher participating in it to make a decision on what to do with that child."
Some of the eight who failed were special education students who will already be judged on a different criteria, Hamilton said.
Though no exact numbers were available, other third-graders who passed the CRCT were retained anyway, said Columbia County Schools Associate Superintendent of Student Learning Dr. Lauren Williams.
"More often than not, our requirements as a system are tougher than the requirements of the state," she said.
Next spring, fifth-graders also must pass the CRCT to advance to middle school. They must meet the minimum requirements in both reading and math to pass.
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