DOE releases statewide CRCT results: More kids exceed, but slight decline in some math, science scores

From DOE on this year’s CRCT results:

The 2012 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results show more students are exceeding the standards than last year. Results also showed a one-year improvement in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding on 20 of the 30 content-area tests.

“The best news in the 2012 CRCT report is that more of our students are exceeding the standards,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “Teachers are doing a great job teaching the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards and they are to be applauded for raising expectations for all students.”

Exceeding the Standards: One Year Improvement on 24 of the 30 Content-Area Tests

- Grade 3: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percentage of students exceeding the standard in Reading, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies increased by 7, 3, 3, 3, and 4 percentage points, resp

- Grade 4: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percentage of students exceeding the standard in Reading, English/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies increased by 6, 1, 4, and 2 percentage points, respectively. The percentage of students exceeding the standard in Mathematics remained the same.

- Grade 5: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percent of students exceeding the standard in English/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies increased by 5, 4, and 1 percentage point, respectively. The percentage of students exceeding the standard decreased by 2 points in Reading and 5 points in Mathematics.

- Grade 6: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percent of students exceeding the standard in Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies increased by 6, 2, 4, and 4 percentage points, respectively. The percentage of students exceeding the standard remained the same for English/Language Arts.

- Grade 7: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percent of students exceeding the standard in Reading, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies increased by 3, 5, 6, 6, and 4 percentage points, respectively.

- Grade 8: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percent of students exceeding the standard in Reading, Science, and Social Studies increased by 4, 1, and 3 percentage points, respectively. The percent of students exceeding the standard decreased by 3 percentage points in English/Language Arts, and remained the same in Mathematics.

Meets and Exceeds the Standards: One Year Improvement on 20 of the 30 Content-Area Tests

When comparing the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard, the greatest gains were seen in grade 5 Social Studies (+6 percentage points) and grade 8 Science (+7 percentage points). There were decreases in four areas: grade 3 Science (-2 percentage points), grade 4 Mathematics (-1 percentage point), grade 5 Mathematics (-3 percentage points), and grade 8 Mathematics (-1 percentage point). There were no changes on six tests.

“While I am pleased to see an increase in the majority of the exams, I am concerned about those where we saw decreases or no change at all,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “As we begin teaching the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards next school year, we know the curriculum and the tests will be more difficult, so we must continue to focus on successfully implementing the new standards. We have been offering, and will continue to offer, teachers the necessary professional development to ensure they are equipped to deliver these new, more rigorous standards and to prepare our students for the next step.”

Promotion/Retention: State law requires that students in third, fifth, and eighth grade meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in Reading in order to be promoted. Fifth and eighth grade students must also meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in Mathematics

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

84 comments Add your comment

Tony

June 14th, 2012
10:41 am

Even though CRCT is “de-emphasized” we will continue testing children ad nauseum. There is no reduction in the amount of testing that will take place in our schools. However, we can expect to see increases.

Bernie

June 14th, 2012
10:44 am

Great News and congratulations to All of the Teachers and Students for such an improvement. These results also demonstrate that the current public educational system can do it its job as designed. Would love to see the numbers in comparison
to the charter schools performance as well. It would also be interesting to see just how the local private religious schools and those who are home schooled as well.
But wait…. those two groups do not believe in such testing. But somehow there is this
false perception that they are somehow more superior. Compared to WHAT!

Sandy Springs Parent

June 14th, 2012
10:55 am

My 6th grader tells me the CRCT’s are so easy! That they are just such a joke. Then she tells me the kids who struggle with them are so dumb. All this says is why do we have these same kids mixed together. Teacher’s can not differniate to so many students at so many different levels. It is the smarter kids who get left behind and are bored. Mine just doesn’t want to go to school.

It is time to save alot of money and get rid of the CRCT, and all of the wasted prep time. Just have the IOWA tests. The IOWA tests works fine for all the better Private schools. I as a parent just ignore the CRCT. I just care about the IOWA, since they show me where my children are based on national norms.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

June 14th, 2012
11:00 am

The CRCT is an expensive yet poor substitute for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills(ITBS). But the former accomplished its mission of keeping “heat” off GA educRATS for our kids’ poor comparative academic performances while these slick talkers stashed away CHEESE in the form of millions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds. These scarce funds could have beenbetter used to pay teachers for full work-years and to buy them instructional supplies.

old school doc

June 14th, 2012
11:00 am

I agree with “Sandy” about the IOWA tests–bring ‘em back!

Road Scholar

June 14th, 2012
11:06 am

The improvements are good, but…

Somehow we need to get the parents and students attention regarding non performance. Take away their calculators and cell phones and tv rights…..and game boys. If that doesn’t work, begin “boot camps” to teach self discipline and the merits of “doing their jobs”. Don’t reward truancy, or disinterest.

The math scores are pitiful.How will we compete on the global market, regardless of career choice?

mystery poster

June 14th, 2012
11:14 am

The Iowa tests are norm referenced tests, they test how well a student does compared to others taking the same tests.
The CRCTs are criterion referenced tests, they measure how well a student knows a particular amount of skills.
You cannot compare one to another, they measure different things.

NTLB

June 14th, 2012
11:16 am

I takes a GOOD Math teacher to teach Math well. Not all math teachers are good math teachers. I failed Alegbra in high school because I had a horrible teacher, I exceeded in Geometry because my teacher was awesome. I taught myself Algebra in order to pass the Praxis and GRE exams. Surprisingly enought my math scores were higher than my verbal scores and I scored in the top percentiles.

My point is: Knowing Math, does not mean you are good at teaching Math. Math teachers need to be amongst the group of best teachers in the building if we want to see better results.

Teaching Math programs in our colleges and universities need to be revisted.

Entitlement Society

June 14th, 2012
11:29 am

Yes, the Iowa tests would be a good idea, but do you really think public educators would want the ability to have their students compared to private school students taking the same test?

GwinnettParentz

June 14th, 2012
11:32 am

Sadly, few readers will have confidence in those CRCT test scores. Only a gnawing certainty that the more things “change” in public K-12 education—the more they will remain the same.

drew (former teacher)

June 14th, 2012
11:32 am

“Promotion/Retention: State law requires that students in third, fifth, and eighth grade meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in Reading in order to be promoted.”

That one always makes me chuckle.

If they actually retained all of those who failed to meet expectations, third, fifth and eighth grades would be bursting at the seams. Fact is, very few will be retained. Some will attend summer school and be promoted (whether they improve or not). But most will be socially promoted until they reach high school, where they finally learn something: they learn that they actually have to EARN a passing grade in order to be promoted in high school. And come to the sobering realization that because they didn’t learn the basics in grades K-8, they have very little chance of successfully navigating HS, and drop out.

And we wonder why our graduation rate is so pitiful.

SBinF

June 14th, 2012
11:33 am

Great point. Private schools can pick and choose whom to accept. Public schools take any and everyone. I’m sure that’s what ‘Entitlement Society’ means.

GwttParenttz

June 14th, 2012
11:34 am

Sadly, few readers will have confidence in those CRCT test scores. Only a gnawing certainty that the more things “change” in public K-12 education—the more they will remain the same.

Phony name

June 14th, 2012
11:35 am

Sadly, few readers will have confidence in those CRCT test scores. Only a gnawing certainty that the more things “change” in public K-12 education—the more they will remain the same.

old school doc

June 14th, 2012
11:38 am

Is there a norm-refernced test out there that parents can easily understand? The CRCT scores tell me nothing. I always end up looking at the number of correct/number of total questions to get an idea of how my kids do. For me the great thing about the ITBS is that I can understand it, and compare year to year peformance.

I wonder how many private schools would want the ability to compare their students to public school students? Some private schools I think may not fare so well in comparisons…

say what?

June 14th, 2012
11:38 am

Now if they compare last years 2,4, and 7th graders with their scores this year in 3,5, and 8, then and only then can this test be useful. Comparing this years 3rd, 5th, adn 8th graders with last years groups tells us nothing. Totally different group of children testing during those years, perhaps a different administration, slew of new teachers.

So although it is good news that the teachers did well with preparing the children, something in our testing has to change. Good job teachers! And Students!
Happy summer.

old school doc

June 14th, 2012
11:41 am

@ Drew–
Just saw a kid today who has not passed the 5th gradeCRCT twice now, but his mom defiantly proclaims that ” they can’t keep him back another year– he is going to 6th grade!”

WE are letting down so many kids by sending them on without a solid foundation…

Digger

June 14th, 2012
11:43 am

Let the spin begin.

sloboffthestreet

June 14th, 2012
11:43 am

Oh how I hate %’s. Now if a grade level at a school is compromised of say 200 students and 20 of them exceeded the standard last year, 10%, with this years rise of say 6% of the students exceeding the standard in a subject area did another 12 students exceed the standard or 1.2 students exceed the standard? Also what was the cut score for this year? Never mind, Just continue clapping!

Ron F.

June 14th, 2012
11:43 am

drew: my youngest child is one of those. He didn’t pass the reading test in 3rd grade despite meeting or exceeding every benchmark along the way. He went to summer school and failed it again, by two points. I had accepted retaining him, but when we looked at all the data, his teacher, the principal, and I together realized there was something more to it than just a single test score. Long story short, I had him evaluated, at some expense, for learning disabilities and ADHD. He was borderline on the ADHD test and fine on the rest. He didn’t test well, and that one score as a single determining factor would have unnecessarily led to this retention. Every year since, he has met or exceeded standards, and not because I’ve done anything radical to change him. He got better at taking tests and staying focused. A lot of the kids are very much like him, based on my experience as a teacher and parent.

Bonnie

June 14th, 2012
11:53 am

They never take into account those student who freeze on tests. There are some kids who just can’t handle the pressure and rightfully so. They start day 1 of a school year “practicing” for the Aprl CRCT – I think they should stick to “if you do your work and pass with good grades, then you go to the next grade – if not, you fail”. Simple like it used to be.

Dunwoody Mom

June 14th, 2012
11:57 am

But Bonnie, all those testing companies with their BILLION dollar profits would then go out of business and their campaign contributions to our politicans would cease….

Really amazed

June 14th, 2012
12:01 pm

Anyone know what the cut scores were for this years CRCT? SAT scores went down! Be very concerned!

where is my school?

June 14th, 2012
12:05 pm

How about a link to the database to check out school systems and school scores?

Dunwoody Mom

June 14th, 2012
12:06 pm

District-level results will be available no later than June 28. School-level results will be available no later than July 12.

Mom of 3

June 14th, 2012
12:16 pm

All this proves is that the teachers are doing a great job teaching for the CRCT test. It’s so sad, that anyone would get excited about this. And as said earlier in this blog, many kids find it very easy. So we are teaching to lowest common denominator and then getting excited when some of the kids improve. Who cares about the kids who were already exceeding and bored.

mountain man

June 14th, 2012
12:30 pm

“Promotion/Retention: State law requires that students in third, fifth, and eighth grade meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in Reading in order to be promoted. Fifth and eighth grade students must also meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in Mathematics”

So, Maureen, I would like to see how many students (especially in APS) have been “not promoted”.

mountain man

June 14th, 2012
12:32 pm

“I had accepted retaining him, but when we looked at all the data, his teacher, the principal, and I together realized there was something more to it than just a single test score.”

So does that mean he was NOT retained?

mountain man

June 14th, 2012
12:35 pm

“I think they should stick to “if you do your work and pass with good grades, then you go to the next grade – if not, you fail”. Simple like it used to be.”

I agree, it would be “simple like it used to be”, except for the fact that teachers give inflated grades to make themselves look better, or administrators override the teacher’s grade in order to please a “helicopter” parent. If the grades accurately reflected the skill level of the student, we would not have to have all this testing.

mountain man

June 14th, 2012
12:37 pm

“All this proves is that the teachers are doing a great job teaching for the CRCT test. It’s so sad, that anyone would get excited about this.”

If the CRCT tests basic command of English and Math, I am VERY excited that kids are measuring up! Maybe that means we won’t have 9th graders who read at a 2nd grade level (if they are truly “retained”).

mountain man

June 14th, 2012
12:39 pm

Old School Doc @ 11:41 – that is just what I am talking about – social promotion with the parent driving it. No “retention”.

mountain man

June 14th, 2012
12:42 pm

Drew (former teacher) @ 11:32 – you said it correctly.

vince

June 14th, 2012
12:44 pm

@ Entitlement Society…As a public educator of 34 years, I would welcome a comparison of ITBS scores between public and private schools. Usually, the private school students who transfer in to our school are a year or more behind us. It would be especially fun to make that comparison if we could pick the students’ scores by which the comparison was made….much like private schools do.

williebkind

June 14th, 2012
12:44 pm

If school was voluntary, we would have great students and lots of brick toters and mud makers. Then government and unions would not have much to say about schools. Just because government who takes our wages in forms of taxes and returns some of it for education should not justify government having the final say in education. Or making laws that fit only a minority. Send the minority to a charter school.

Michael Moore

June 14th, 2012
12:51 pm

It is well to remember that the crct is test made by McGraw-Hill who is now on a year to year contract with us, I assume, since their previous five-year contract ran out and the the DOE is always quiet about these things and M-H makes tests for sixteen other states all with very different performance standards. Do you really think M-G gears their test specifically for Georgia? If you do then you didn’t learn anything from the social studies and math debacles when those standards changed and didn’t fit the test. The crct does not reveal what students have actually learned. For example, key standards for third grade in the GPS include speaking and listening so we aren’t getting any measurement on half the language arts domains. Remember, too, the test can only measure literal comprehension and some basic inference so any type of analysis or synthesis is beyond the scope of this test. Actually, that’s probably a good thing for this minimum competency test because we have this crazy balancing act where we have to set the standards at a place where it is obvious we can show improvement but not too low to scare parents. Of course the best way to view the crct is in comparison to the NAEP and their standards. What does the NAEP say in terms of the numbers of third graders at the standard…what does the crct say? We hang on these test score results as if they came from a burning bush when actually they are quite meaningless. It’s just one assessment yet we attach such high stakes to it. If you want to know what your student learned and how well he/she is progressing then sit down with the teacher. This data cannot tell you anything about how good a teacher your child had.

DoctorAJ

June 14th, 2012
12:53 pm

Georgia still has a long way to go when it comes to national standards.
This will be evident in 2014 when they have common testing in 46 states.

JGrim

June 14th, 2012
12:56 pm

Thankfully, this year there wasn’t a lot of fuss made over this test at my son’s school (last year was a different story). We also have a different principal this year.

When my son was talking about the test, I told him not to worry, that the test wasn’t going to tell me anything that I didn’t already know about him. My theory was correct.

BT

June 14th, 2012
12:57 pm

@Vince, i agree, this notion that private, charter and home schools settings are better is highly overrated. We get students in our school from these settings that are behind most of the time. But we have factions that are trying to destroy public education.

BehindEnemyLines

June 14th, 2012
1:11 pm

Fairly meaningless until the erasure marks are examined.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

June 14th, 2012
1:21 pm

(M)ystery poster,

You’re wrong.

The ITBS is both a criterion- and norm-referenced test. And, as Casey Stengel used to say, “You can look it up” by “googling” the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Read the descriptive materials provided by its publisher.

AlreadySheared

June 14th, 2012
1:43 pm

@DoctorAJ,
And I suspect that Georgia teachers have to take the GACE rather than Praxis for just that reason.

Entitlement Society

June 14th, 2012
1:49 pm

@Private School Haters (i.e. BT & Vince) – The children from my children’s private school don’t leave unless their families move out of the state or country, so I beg to differ that “the private school students who transfer in to our school are a year or more behind us,” as Vince touted. Really? To which private schools are you referring? Funny that I’ve never seen a Westminster/Lovett/Pace kid transfer to a public school and be held back a year as you claim.

Homeschooler

June 14th, 2012
1:50 pm

I agree that private, charter and homeschool academics are not always superior to public. I have no idea how my children would do on the CRCT and I really don’t care. They do take the Iowa test every year and maintain an average of about 70percent nationally. I truly believe that their scores on the Iowa would be higher if they were in a traditional school setting. The fact is they learn differently and at a different pace. They were not writing paragraphs in first grade yet their curriculum is set up to have them writing exceptional papers in high school. Their math is completely concept based. A tutor who recently worked with my son said his speed on multiplication tables is slow but his conceptual understanding of math will serve him well in calculus in high school. My point is, it is a different type of learning. My son has never written and re-written a 2 page paper about his favorite pasttime but he has summarized every chapter of 4 volumes of “Story of the World” so that he already has a phenomenal understanding of ancient – modern history. He can tell you who was president during every major war and what political party that they belonged to. He can compare Joseph Stalin to Adolf Hitler and can tell you exactly why the Japanese chose to bomb Pearl Harbor.
I don’t need a test to tell me how well my child is doing. I just need to have a conversation with him. I do think that now that he is entering middle school he needs to be familiar with a more traditional education. I want him to be successful in High School and college and to do so he will need to “make the grade” on the test. (Iowa, SAT etc..). We are determining the best route to take and only time will tell if not having a traditional K-5 education has harmed him in some way but I have confidence that he will do very well.
One thing I am 100percent sure of. My children’s character, values and confidence in themselves is not lacking in any way. The personality traits that they have gained from living and learning “outside of the box” are something I would not trade for any grades in the world.

Entitlement Society

June 14th, 2012
2:10 pm

@Homeschooler – Kudos to you for taking the time and making the effort to do what works for your children, recognizing that each is an individual and learns differently, which they obviously wouldn’t have been able to do in a government school setting with 25+ children of diverse abilities in the same classroom!!

catlady

June 14th, 2012
2:13 pm

My school will end up with about 40/200 3rd graders not passing, and less than 3 will be retained. Virtually all of them failed the “mock” CRCTs in first and second. And next year, they will repeat this same “success” in 4th grade.

Why doesn’t the state BOE put a stop to this?

Jerry Eads

June 14th, 2012
2:19 pm

Remember that the equating (linking the difficulty) from one year’s tests to the next is NEVER, EVER perfect. Slight (and sometimes major) changes can be due simply to those imperfections. Another virtual certainty is that there are slight differences from one group to the next – so the 3rd grade pass rates will bounce around a bit from year to year (even with a hundred thousand students). Fairtest’s Lisa Guisbond wrote a short “Pop Quiz on Testing” in Edweek that folks might enjoy:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/13/35guisbond.h31.html?tkn=XLTFQyAiw2LRB8fhqYSk72dpjTtQZ3TecRRJ&cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS1

mystery poster

June 14th, 2012
2:20 pm

@Dr. Spinks
According to the Iowa tests FAQ, they are norm referenced.

Here’s an excerpt:
Norm-referenced tests (NRTs) are designed to compare students (i.e., disperse average
student scores along a bell curve, with some students performing very well, most performing
average, and a few performing poorly). These types of tests are most appropriate when one
wishes to make comparisons across large numbers of students or important decisions regarding
student placement and advancement.

Criterion-referenced assessments (CRTs) measure how well a student performs against an
objective or criterion rather than another student. Criterion-referenced classrooms are mastery oriented,
informing all students of the expected standard and teaching them to succeed on
related outcome measures. These types of tests are most appropriate for quickly assessing what
concepts and skills students have learned from a segment of instruction.

NRTs like The Iowa Tests® provide a research-based, external validator
for districts. In addition to providing detailed information on whether your students are mastering
content skills, NRTs also gauge how well districts are doing compared to national averages.
NRTs help tell the whole story of a students’ academic progress.

Jerry Eads

June 14th, 2012
2:22 pm

Michael: precisely. I admired that you used such restraint in describing the “value” of these tests :-) .

mystery poster

June 14th, 2012
2:25 pm

Although I will certainly accept that the last paragraph, about students mastering skills, would give it a CRT designation also.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

June 14th, 2012
2:29 pm

@Entitlement “Yes, the Iowa tests would be a good idea, but do you really think public educators would want the ability to have their students compared to private school students taking the same test?”

My district gave the IOWA to our students, and I welcomed it! It gave me meaningful information I could actually use to plan and differentiate for my students. Unlike the CRCT which tells me very little and actually makes my job much harder. Since I cannot read the CRCT, I have no idea what my students are able to do or not do, other than the subject area – I do know several of the questions apparently confused my higher level students, but I could only say, “Do your best!” and that was it.

Furthermore, I have students who struggle all year, and who I recommend for retention, who then pass the CRCT. Then their parents are less likely to agree to retention, and the system did not want it either. Some of my lowest performing students get the test read to them, which means they can pass subjects that in a school setting they do not pass because they cannot read the material themselves. I only have so much time to read and scaffold material for them. Parents complain about grades because they do not understand how a child can fail to meet classroom standards, but can pass the CRCT. Maybe because I expect more than a 40% pass rate to master material in my class.

As for public verses private – that is an interesting one. I have had several students come to me from a private background, and although most have done fine, it was a transition for them. They were used to getting higher grades than they received with me. I am not sure why, but I suspect they were getting the grades their parents “paid for” and with me, they got the grades they earned. It took them a few less than stellar grades to really begin to understand I had expectations that they needed to meet, and they weren’t going to just be given high grades for less than their best effort. Overall, I think they may have had more learning opportunities in the private schools (field trips, lab equipment, smaller class sizes, less disruptions, etc.) but I honestly think I pushed them more to reach their full potential. I just wish I was also able to offer them (and all my students) those enriching learning opportunities.