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Schools trying to stay ahead of the testing curve
Officials say faculty has done a good job 'anticipating issues' with new standards for CRCTs
Lavone Burnsed was recognized for 36 years in the county school system. - photo by J Holthaus

Bryan County students not only excelled on this year’s CRCT exams, but also met or exceeded results in all areas of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, according to officials at the Bryan County Board of Education meeting Thursday.

"The Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) and CRCTs are the two tests that are most significant for Georgia students," Associate Superintendent John Oliver said. The GHSGT is taken by juniors and is a requirement for graduation as well as one of the academic measures used to determine whether or not a school has met Annual Yearly Progress.

Oliver compared the results of the 2007 GHSGT to 2008 and noted there was a four percent increase in the number of juniors who passed math, from 92 to 96 percent; four more percent passed social studies, increasing to 91 percent; and in science, there was a 16 percent increase.

"Science, traditionally and statewide, has been the area that has been a struggle. We’re introducing the new science curriculum and we’ve found we need to put more emphasis there," Oliver said, noting English Language Arts (ELA) and math are the two tests that actually count for AYP. "Science and social studies don’t yet, but they are a requirement for a student to get their diploma. Our students have done as well or better in those two classes compared to the state and we’re very encouraged by that."

Compared to statewide averages, Bryan County juniors equaled state performance in ELA and exceeded math, science and social studies performance.

"Overall, we’re pleased with how our 11th graders did on this test," he said.

In an official review of Bryan County’s CRCT results, Oliver pointed out the test is given to all 1st through 8th graders in reading and math. First and 2nd graders don’t take a CRCT in science or social studies, but 3rd through 8th grade does.

"We compared our first graders across the board, and 96 met or exceeded expectations," Oliver said.

Third graders must pass the reading CRCT in order to move forward and this year, 92 percent were successful. Officials are optimistic that the other eight percent will be successful at passing the retest this summer.

Fifth and 8th graders must pass the reading and math CRCTs in order to continue to the next grade. This year, the 8th grade math CRCT was newly aligned with GPS, meaning the test included more rigorous material. For this reason, the state expected there to be a decrease in how many students passed it.

"Seventy percent of our children did in fact meet the state’s expectations for the math CRCT," Oliver said, noting only 62 percent of 8th graders statewide passed the test. "Our 8th graders did outperform their peers."

However, about 150 of them did not pass. Oliver said there were a lot of students who just missed the mark and many students have taken the summer remediation offered by the school system. The math retest was held Wednesday and Thursday and Oliver said all the students were focused.

"Our kids continue to make progress. We’re in an interesting time right now as the state transitions from one curriculum to another," Oliver said. "In Bryan County, I think our staff has anticipated a lot of the potential issues and I’ve been very pleased with our schools and how they’ve responded to it."

Results of the retests on the CRCTs will be released by mid-July.

In other business:

- The 2008-2009 school budget was approved by the board. It had been pre-approved at the May meeting for a total of $ $53,500,852. Last year’s budget was $50,938,562.

- The board put out four bids for a Blodgett double-stack gas convection oven, which is needed at Richmond Hill Middle School. The project was awarded to low bidder Norvell Fixture and Equipment Company out of Augusta, for $11,200. Food Service Director Carole Knight said they’ve done without the oven for two years and are really in need of replacing it. The previous oven had been used at the school since it first opened, almost 30 years ago.



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