Students still struggling on CRCT tests - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students still struggling on CRCT tests

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - CRCT results are in, and they provide a dismal glimpse into our schools. Statewide, students are still struggling, particularly in math.  At Dougherty Middle School, 70% of 8th graders tested failed the math portion of the test. But overall, the Dougherty school system improved in several areas over last year.

While all students in first through eighth grade must take the test, only third, fifth and eighth grade students must pass certain subjects in order to be promoted to the next grade.

When you look at third, fifth and eighth grade scores over last year, each of the areas that students must pass in order to be promoted actually improved.  R.D. Harter said, "We've had system wide improvement in Math and Science."

But compared to the statewide scores, some areas are greatly lacking for the school system. The most shocking of promotion subject numbers came in Math. 48.7% of Dougherty County eighth graders failed, compared to 29.9% across the state.

Harter said, "I think you're trying to compare us to state, I think you're trying to compare us to a standard that's not real."

R.D. Harter is the public information director for the school system. He says pitting the system against the state isn't comparing apples to apples. "That's not a plausible way to deal with education. When you have a population of students, what you want to see is achievement every year on the rise, on the increase and that's what our focus is."

But even within the system, there are some major discrepancies. Almost 70% of 8th grade students at Dougherty Middle failed the math portion of the test, compared to 48.7% system wide. "Is there not concern here from the school system?" asked reporter Karen Cohilas.  Harter responded, "Very much concern. Very much concern. We would like all our students to be performing at the highest level, unfortunately, that's not always the case."

Harter also says there are factors in students lives outside of the classroom that impact how they perform, including poverty and parental involvement. And while math scores were low among 8th graders, there was more than a 3% increase in the number of students who passed. 5th grade math scores improved dramatically.

There is a loophole in the state school system that may allow students who don't pass the promotion sections of the test to still move up to the next grade. But they have to meet standards in other areas to move ahead.

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