Muscogee School District CRCT scores bring good and bad news

ajjohnson@ledger-enquirer.comJune 25, 2013 

The majority of students in the Muscogee County School District met or exceeded state standards in all subjects covered by the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. The district even saw improvement in some areas, but in most cases the percentages were much lower than state averages, according to data released by the state education officials.

The Georgia Department of Education released 2013 district-level scores for third through eighth grades on Tuesday, announcing improved performance on the majority of the CRCTs taken statewide. The end-of-year tests measure how well students have mastered skills and knowledge gained through state-mandated instruction for reading, English/language arts, mathematics and social studies.

Statewide, the greatest gains occurred in fifth-grade mathematics, which increased by 6 percentage points; sixth-grade social studies, by 5 percentage points; seventh-grade social studies, by 5 percentage points; and eighth-grade mathematics, by 6 percentage points. At the same time, the state experienced decreases in third-grade English language arts, third-grade mathematics, fourth-grade English language arts, seventh-grade mathematics and eighth-grade English language art.

“Our results this year on the CRCT show consistent progress and we continue to see many students scoring in the exceeds category,” said State School Superintendent John Barge in a press release. “This is a testament to the great work our teachers are doing to take students to higher levels of learning.”

When contacted, Muscogee County spokesperson Valerie Fuller said the district was reviewing the data, which was released about 10 a.m. Fuller said the district was working on a news release, but it was not available at 7 p.m.

In Muscogee County there was good news — and bad news. Fourth-graders showed improvements in many areas, with percentages jumping from 66.3 to 72.1 in math, 68.7 to 73.0 in science and 66.9 to 70.8 in social studies in year over year comparisons.

The percentage of third-graders meeting or exceeding expectations in reading jumped slightly from 84.8 to 85.6. Yet, the scores still fell short of statewide averages. Statewide, the fourth-grade averages were 84.3 in math, 82.7 in science and 81.3 in social studies. In third-grade, the average district reading score was 92.1.

In some cases, Muscogee County students even did worse than the previous year. In math, the percentage of third-graders meeting or exceeding standards dropped from 69.3 to 64.2 percent, falling far short of the 78.5 state average. The percentage of third-graders performing well in English language arts also dropped significantly between 2012 and 2013 from 85.4 percent to 78.5 percent. Third-grade percentages also decreased from 66.4 percent to 62.6 percent in science.

Students seemed to perform better in the upper grades, where in reading 88.6 percent of fourth graders, 87.9 percent of fifth-graders, 93 percent of sixth-graders, 91.6 percent of seventh-graders and 95.5 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded state standards. All were improvements over last year.

Muscogee County fell short in district-to-district comparisons. When third-grade performance was compared to 9 other districts a “peer” group, which includes Troup, Liberty, Chatham, DeKalb, Bibb and Richmond school districts, Muscogee County ranked towards the bottom in all categories. Troup, Liberty and Chatham outperformed the district in most areas.

Georgia state law requires that all students in the first through eighth grade take the CRCT in content areas of reading, English/language arts and mathematics. Due to budget constraints, Georgia first and second graders did not take the test in 2013. Students in grades three through eight are also assessed in science and social studies.

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