The Georgia Department of Education has decided to throw out the results of 6th and 7th grader’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) for social studies.
Over the past several days, the Georgia Department of Education said they’ve been closely monitoring the CRCT initial results as they are being processed.
State Superintendent Kathy Cox announced recently that 70 to 80 percent of the students throughout the state failed it. Passing the social studies exam is not a requirement for students to continue to the next grade.
"After intense scrutiny of the standards and the assessment, we have come to the conclusion that these scores are not trustworthy measures of student achievement in social studies," Cox said. "Accordingly, the results will be invalidated. It is important to note that we found nothing technically incorrect with the scoring of these assessments. This decision is based primarily on the conviction that we need to revise the curriculum and the assessments to better evaluate the knowledge and skills that represent student achievement in social studies."
Statewide and system-level statistics for CRCT results are not yet available, but Bryan County Assistant Superintendent John Oliver said he thinks the low social studies test scores are a result of one thing:
"I think there is a disconnect between teaching and learning and the assessment," he said.
Oliver said parents of students who did not pass the CRCT reading exam in 3rd grade and reading and/or math exams in 5th and 8th grade have all been notified. The Department of Education estimates approximately 40 percent of the state’s 8th graders have likely failed the math CRCT.
These tests are a requirement for moving ahead, and parents have been given information about tutoring opportunities and retesting. The retests are June 25 for math and June 26 for reading and Cox said there will soon be a set of online retest resources for students to use over the summer, available at www.georgiamath.org.
Cox said it was clear that something was not right with the social studies results, but said the results don’t reflect the "excellence and effort of Georgia’s social studies teachers or students." She said the next step is for the state and a committee of social studies teachers to go over the standards and assessments to figure out why the results are so low and what can be done for next year.
The new math curriculum for rising 8th graders began implementation three years ago, phased in one year at a time. The new Georgia Performance Standards set for the new curriculum are more rigorous and will be implemented on the High School test for 2010.
"Our teachers have done a tremendous job of implementing these new standards," Cox said. "We have asked students to demonstrate higher order thinking on these tests and have set rigorous, but reasonable, cut scores."
All CRCT tests are used to help determine whether or not a school is meeting the goals set by the No Child Left Behind act. The official CRCT results will be released sometime in June.