Here is the advance the AJC ran this morning in anticipation of the release this morning of statewide CRCT scores.
The story details the waning impact of the test on school system ratings as Georgia moves to new accountability measures. This is an excerpt. Please read full story:
Few educators are mourning the waning primacy of the CRCT, administered to public school students in grades 3 through 8. The test, a key part in determining if a school meets federal achievement standards , measures student performance in English/language arts, reading, science, math and social studies.
“I think educators have felt for some time now that we’ve gone overboard on testing,” said Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. “Right now, we seem to be caught up in a numbers game. It’s almost a blame and shame game.”
Since 2000, the CRCT has been a critical factor in determining if a school meets federal adequate yearly progress targets, or AYP. In years past, those high stakes would create nervousness among some schools when test scores were reported. Persistently poor performing schools could be closed or taken over by the state. Educator bonuses were sometimes tied to whether a school made AYP, and teaching classes that consistently performed poorly on the CRCT could negatively affect that teacher’s career.
The drive to do well on CRCT and meet federal standards was blamed for spurring educators in Dougherty County and Atlanta Public Schools to change student answers on the CRCT. APS is now trying to fire about 50 educators who are on paid administrative leave after being accused of cheating or failing to report cheating on the 2009 CRCT.
The CRCT will be around for another year, perhaps longer. Georgia parents began receiving their student’s test scores in late May. Today’s release of CRCT district scores will be followed by a school-by-school report.
But instead of relying almost exclusively on the CRCT to determine how schools are performing, Georgia is working to create an index system that will assign each school a numerical rating from one to 100, with 100 being the highest possible rating.
In that rating system, which Georgia got the right to establish because it received a waiver from NCLB, CRCT results will be one of several factors that make up a school’s rating. Some other factors will include graduation rates, Advanced Placement test scores, reading levels and career awareness indicators.
The Georgia Department of Education expects to implement that new measurement system late this year or early next year.
–Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog