Curriculum Director Laurie Atkins presented the countys testing results last week during a meeting of the Polk County Board of Education.
Third-grade writing assessment pass rates showed a gain of 2.1 percent over last years scores, bringing 2006 results to a solid 67 percent. The countys fifth-graders showed a substantial gain of 6.38 percent in pass rates, taking them from 49.75 in 2005 to 56.13 percent in 2006. Eighth-graders scores climbed from 88 percent last year to 89 percent this year.
For the countys high school students taking the Georgia High School Writing Test, an increase of 5 percent was recorded, bringing their pass rate from 89 percent last year to 94 percent this year.
CRCT scores are not as clear-cut. Implementation of a new curriculum standard increased target achievement levels, Atkins explained, and gave students harder CRCT tests compared to last years.
For third and fifth-graders, the number of students meeting or exceeding test standards declined this year in the reading and English/language arts portion of the CRCT. In third grade reading, scores fell from 2005s rate of 91 percent to 82.1 percent. In third-grade English/language arts, scores fell from 85 to 80 percent.
Scores for fifth-graders declined in reading from 84 percent in 2005 to 77.4 percent in 2006. English/language arts scores also fell from 80 to 78 percent this year.
Atkins said the dips in third and fifth-grade CRCT scoring were expected this year. Those decreases are due to the implementation of a new curriculum called the Georgia Performance Standards. This is the first year our teachers have dealt with the new curriculum. Its more rigorous and focuses the students on content areas more intensely.
Atkins explained that last year, in order to pass, students had to score a 300. This year, with the Georgia Performance Standards, they had to score 800. [Georgias Superintendent of Schools] Kathy Cox stated during press conferences that we shouldnt even compare last years CRCT reading scores with this years, but the Polk School District has done that anyway, but just for motivation to improve next year.
Atkins said the reading and English/language arts scores for 2006 will be used for benchmark purposes next year.
Well use these scores and set achievement benchmarks for coming years that are reasonable, so we can continue to improve and challenge our students.
The Georgia Performance Standards curriculum was not added to mathematics instruction this year. The CRCT pass rates for third, fifth and eighth-graders in mathematics this year showed several increases.
For third-grade, math scores rose from 89 to 94.2 percent; for fifth-grade, scores rose from 79 to 80.9 percent and for eighth-graders, scores climbed from 72 to 74.4 percent.
The school district saw impressive gains in the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT).
The GHSGT, given to the countys eleventh-graders, is a test that Atkins describes as a high stakes test.
Students must pass all portions of the test, including English/language, math, science and social studies, in order to receive a diploma. Students are given more than one chance to pass the test.
In all subject areas for first-time test-takers, the amount of students passing each subject increased over last years percentages.
In English/language arts, 96 percent of students passed, compared to last years 94 percent.
In math, 92 percent passed, an increase of 1 percent over 2005s score.
In science, 74 percent passed, which translates into an 11-percent gain over last year.
In social studies, 82 percent of students passed, compared
to 80 percent of last years test takers.
Theres a lot to be proud of here, Atkins said. She also praised Rockmart High School for having 100 percent of their students pass each subject on their first attempt.