Reading and English language arts continued to be strong performance areas for students in Floyd County Schools on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) released today by the State Department of Education. The average percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard in Reading remained in the mid to upper 90 percentage range of success. Even with the high 90 percent rate of meeting or exceeding the standard, a gain was registered in four of the six grade levels for 2014.
Grade 8 students showed the highest increase and percentage at 98.4 percent meeting or exceeding the standard. “It is great to see such a high percentage of students being successful in reading because the ability to read directions and communicate ideas is the basis for success in all subject areas,” stated Dr. Jeff McDaniel, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. “We understand the skills taught in our early grades set the stage for success later in school and are key elements in keeping a child on the path to the destination of graduation.”
Math was also very strong in the middle school grades on the state report. Far fewer students in grades 6, 7 and 8 failed to meet the standard in math for 2014 with students in grade 7 having the lowest percentage not meeting the mark at just 5.1 percent. Seventh graders also had the largest percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard at 94.9 percent
This was the last year students will take the CRCT. Beginning next year, all students in grades 3-8 will take the test called Georgia Milestones. The new testing system is designed to provide one consistent program across grades 3-12, rather than a series of individual tests. It will include open-ended questions to better gauge student mastery of academic content. The plan is for all regular education students to take the new test entirely online by the fifth year of implementation.
Georgia Milestones will be aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) in English language arts and mathematics and Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) in science and social studies. This testing system will require more from students than the CRCT and the End of Course Tests (EOCT) it replaces. The new testing process was developed in order to better prepare students for college and career and to provide a more realistic picture of academic progress.
According to the State Department of Education, the increased expectations for learning built into the new tests are likely to mean initially lower scores next year than in previous years. “We certainly saw that differentiation as we switched to tests aligned to Georgia Performance Standards and again when Common Core Standards were introduced,” commented Tony Bethune, chief of academics for Floyd County Schools. “History has shown us that there is a period of transition as you introduce new tests and new testing procedures.”