Harris County continues to outscore state average on CRCT

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comJune 27, 2014 

The Harris County School District students in grades 3-8 improved on more than half of their standardized tests and increased their margin over the state average in more than one-third of them, according to results released this week by the Georgia Department of Education.

This spring, those six grades took the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in five subjects, producing a total of 30 scores for school districts to measure their progress.

Harris County increased the percentage of students passing the CRCT on 17 of the 30 tests, and the district's margin over the state average improved on 14 of them. Passing means the student met or exceeded the state standard.

On all 30 tests, Harris County continued to score above the state average.

"We are very pleased with the results, yet know that there is always room for improvement," Harris County interim superintendent Jeff Branham told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email. "We attribute this success to the hard work on the part of the teachers and students. We also have dedicated administrators in place. What we are most pleased about is the academic achievement in light of the fact that although we did have furlough days, the teachers made strong use of instructional time."

Branham noted how well Harris County did compared to the other school districts in its Regional Education Service Agency. In addition to Harris County, the West Georgia RESA comprises the counties of Troup, Meriwether, Heard, Coweta and Carroll. The Georgia Department of Education is divided into 16 RESAs to serve those contiguous areas more efficiently and effectively through shared services and educational programs.

Highlights

Harris County's highlights in the CRCT scores include:

• Third grade outscored the other districts in the RESA in reading, math and science. "This is particularly outstanding due to the fact that third grade is a pivotal grade where there exists a reading promotion requirement," Branham said.

• Fourth-grade reading improved by 3.3 percentage points to 95.9. "There is historically a dip in scores when the curriculum changes slightly and there is an increase in levels of independence," Branham said.

• Fifth grade has a reading and math promotion requirement, and 96.6 percent passed reading and 92.0 percent passed math.

• Sixth grade outscored the RESA in all subject areas, except reading, where Harris County's 98.2 was nipped by Coweta County's 98.4.

• Seventh grade still outscored the RESA in science despite falling 4.7 points to 89.6.

• Eighth grade, where passing scores in reading and math are promotion requirements, 98.2 percent met or exceeded the standard, and 89.9 percent did so in math.

We are pleased with the fact that our scores are consistently strong over grade bands, rather than pockets of achievement," Branham said. "We are pleased that our intermediate and middle school scores look as positive as our elementary scores.

Lowlights

• Compared to 2013, seventh grade didn't improve on any test, and eighth grade improved on only social studies.

• Seventh grade's declines were significant, the most alarming 4.7 percentage points in science.

• Fifth grade's math score fell 2.6 percentage points.

"We know we have areas of improvement where we may have been edged out in scores compared to similar districts," Branham said. " We feel that our comparisons to other districts in our region are a good measure. We continually work toward improving math scores through professional learning support and through continually broadening our resources.

"We know the new assessment next year, Georgia Milestones, will be one area of focus. We will work diligently toward preparing our students on CCGPS (Common Core Georgia Performance Standards) content and how to demonstrate mastery on an assessment that includes a variety of items other than multiple choice."

Students in grades 1-2 didn't take the CRCTs. Students in grades 9-12 took the End of Course Tests, whose results weren't released.

This was the final year the state will administer the CRCTs. Starting next school year, the standardized tests will be the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, which officials promise will be a tougher measurement. The Georgia Milestones also will replace the End of Course Tests.

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.

HARRIS COUNTY'S CRCT RESULTS

2013 scores, followed by the 2014 scores. Numbers denote the percentage of students who met or exceeded the state standard)

Eighth-grade reading

Harris County 98.5, 98.2, -0.3

State average 96.8, 97.0, +0.2

Eighth-grade English language arts

Harris County 97.8, 96.9, -0.9

State average 94.3, 94.5, +0.2

Eighth-grade math

Harris County 91.3, 89.8, -1.5

State average 83.0, 81.5, -1.5

Eighth-grade science

Harris County 82.8, 88.7, +5.9

State average 74.0, 77.9, +3.9

Eighth-grade social studies

Harris County 87.9, 90.6, +2.7

State average 77.9, 80.6, +2.7

Seventh-grade reading

Harris County 99.0, 97.1, -1.9

State average 94.7, 94.7, 0.0

Seventh-grade English language arts

Harris County 98.2, 95.8, -2.4

State average 93.0, 93.9, +0.9

Seventh-grade math

Harris County 96.7, 92.9, -3.8

State average 89.9, 87.6, -2.3

Seventh-grade science

Harris County 94.3, 89.6, -4.7

State average 85.2, 84.2, -1.0

Seventh-grade social studies

Harris County 91.5, 88.3, -3.2

State average 82.7, 83.5, +0.8

Sixth-grade reading

Harris County 96.2, 98.2, +2.0

State average 96.0, 97.2, +1.2

Sixth-grade English language arts

Harris County 92.5, 94.5, +2.0

State average 92.4, 91.8, -0.6

Sixth-grade math

Harris County 90.2, 93.9, +3.7

State average 82.7, 84.1, +1.4

Sixth-grade science

Harris County 80.8, 86.1, +5.3

State average 74.0, 75.1, +1.1

Sixth-grade social studies

Harris County 84.2, 88.9, +4.7

State average 77.5, 79.8, +2.3

Fifth-grade reading

Harris County 94.9, 96.6, +1.7

State average 92.9, 94.8, +1.9

Fifth-grade English language arts

Harris County 95.9, 95.7, -0.2

State average 94.2, 94.7, +0.5

Fifth-grade math

Harris County 94.6, 92.0, -2.6

State average 89.5, 87.7, -1.8

Fifth-grade science

Harris County 86.2, 86.3, +0.1

State average 79.6, 81.9, +2.3

Fifth-grade social studies

Harris County 81.4, 84.0, +2.6

State average 80.5, 80.7, +0.2

Fourth-grade reading

Harris County 92.6, 95.9, +3.3

State average 92.5, 93.6, +1.1

Fourth-grade English language arts

Harris County 91.1, 93.0, +2.0

State average 90.2, 88.7, -1.5

Fourth-grade math

Harris County 86.9, 89.2, +2.3

State average 84.3, 81.7, -2.6

Fourth-grade science

Harris County 89.4, 91.6, +2.2

State average 82.7, 80.9, -1.8

Fourth-grade social studies

Harris County 87.5, 89.3, +1.8

State average 81.3, 81.2, -0.1

Third-grade reading

Harris County 96.4, 95.2, -1.2

State average 92.1, 92.3, +0.2

Third-grade English language arts

Harris County 95.5, 93.8, -1.7

State average 88.1, 88.5, +0.4

Third-grade math

Harris County 86.6, 90.7, +4.1

State average 78.5, 80.7, +2.2

Third-grade science

Harris County 88.1, 86.8, -1.3

State average 78.4, 77.1, -1.3

Third-grade social studies

Harris County 89.0, 91.4, +2.4

State average 83.4, 83.7, +0.3

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