ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Dougherty County School leaders say drastic drops in CRCT scores in eight schools where state monitors oversaw testing this year is not an indication that teachers tampered with tests last year when scores were higher.
With monitors watching, the overall passing rate dropped by 13-points in those schools where the state said there were problems last year. The school system continues to deny there were problems but admit more needs to be done to boost scores. S
school officials say they're not pleased with the schools where there were drastic drops, but they say it's not fair to paint the system with a broad brush and make the assumption because scores were lower, last year there was cheating in some classrooms.
With school out for the summer CRCT's in April are the last thing on students minds as they cool off. The recently released scores, down in many cases, have hit a nerve with some parents.
"It lets me know there is a problem somewhere," said Charlie How Williams, a concerned parent.
"I can see where it is concerning I don't know what went on the year before that so we can only go on what goes on in our house with our kids," said Antoinette Jenkins, a concerned parent.
Both of those parents attribute their students passing to the work they've done at home, the system's reaction is mixed.
"We had some schools where test scores came up and a few schools in every area and some in four areas out of five. We also have some concerns over test scores in other schools," said R.D. Harter.
While Radium Springs Middle School eighth graders improved all passing percentages, at Jackson Heights the second grade passing rate for Math dropped nearly 30 percent. In fourth grade passing Math scores dropped 48 percent. Reading in Fifth grade at MLK was down 45 percent.
"Are we concerned absolutely we work real hard on providing differentiated instruction to make sure students receive all the curriculum material in a way that is appropriate for their learning style," said Harter.
The schools say it isn't because state monitors were watching this year that their scores are lower in those severe schools. Many teachers were switched around at the elementary level and with standards rising, students didn't meet the threshold.
"The biggest challenge is to bring those lowest level students up it's very difficult to do that in a short period of time," said Harter.
In some cases they claim it can take years, a goal they're working toward improving. In fact the school system says it's been working with teachers over the summer break, holding teacher training to make sure the teacher's skills are where they need to be.
The school system is still waiting on results from CRCT retests. The state requires students to pass the CRCT in certain subjects in third, fifth, and eight grades in order to be promoted to the next grade.