State school officials last week released the results of two benchmark tests -- the Georgia High School Graduation Test and the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. Both tests showed improvements by Columbia County pupils in some areas, but lower performance in others.
The school system improved in every subject of the graduation tests:
- 95 percent of students passed English/language arts, a 1 percentage point improvement compared with last year.
- 98 percent of students passed math, a 2 percentage point improvement compared with last year.
- 94 percent of students passed social studies, a 1 percentage point improvement compared with last year.
- 95 percent of students passed science, a 1 point improvement compared with last year.
"I think we've done a remarkable job," said Lauren Williams, associate school superintendent..
High school juniors must pass the exam to receive a diploma.
Harlem High had the largest gains in each subject, though it had the lowest passing percentage overall. The school gained 5 percentage points in language arts and 7 points in math, social studies and science. The school scored 96 in math, 91 in language arts, 93 in science and 90 in social studies.
Harlem High Principal Alan Griffin credited the gains to an in-school tutoring program that started this school year.
The only other county school to improve in every subject was Lakeside High. It scored 98 in math, and 96 in language arts, science and social studies.
Evans High showed no improvement in language arts and math, and dropped a percentage point in social studies and science. Those juniors scored 97 in math, 94 in language arts, 93 in science and 92 in social studies.
Overall, Greenbrier High performed better on the graduation tests than any of its counterparts. It gained a percentage point in math but lost ground by the same amount in language arts and social studies. The science scores remained the same compared to last year. It scored 99 in math and 96 in language arts, science and social studies.
"We're right there neck and neck with Lakeside in everything but the math, and if I had to attribute that victory to anything it would be our math department (Chairwoman Dana Bull)," Greenbrier High Principal Margie Hamilton said. "She's been an awesome leader."
Juniors failing the graduation test will have four more opportunities to take and pass the exam before graduation, Dr. Williams said.
CRCT results released Friday show that fifth- and eighth-graders are improving in math but that more third- and fifth-graders failed the reading portion of the exam than last year.
Third-graders must pass the reading section of the CRCT to advance to fourth grade. Fifth- and eighth-graders must pass reading and math to advance.
The percentage of third-graders passing the CRCT remained at 95. The school system tested 34 more pupils and produced eight more failing grades this year.
Overall, 87 third-graders failed the reading test, compared with 79 in 2008.
Twenty-five more fifth-graders failed reading, 115 in all, compared with last year. Eighty-one more fifth-graders passed the math section than last year. In all, 205 out of 1,676 pupils failed the math test.
Eighth-graders improved in math and reading.
The results show 68 eighth-graders failed reading and 317 failed math, compared with 83 and 473, respectively, in 2008.
School officials have contacted the parents of pupils who failed and informed them that the CRCT summer school remediation course starts June 1 for elementary pupils and June 2 for those in middle school.
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