Both Cobb County School District and Marietta City Schools leaders were encouraged by this year’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores, with fifth-grade scores in both school systems seeing increases in almost every subject tested.
Cobb Schools Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause commended the efforts of teachers and students in raising many of the scoring areas.
“Teachers have successfully implemented instructional changes and strategies and will be eager to break down the data at their local school,” Krause said.
Marietta City Schools Superintendent Emily Lembeck is optimistic about the city schools’ scores but recognizes they still have work to do in shoring up some areas of weakness.
In April and May, Georgia students in third through eighth grades are tested in five subject areas — reading, English/ language arts, math, science and social studies.
Students in third, fifth and eighth grades must pass the reading test to advance to the next grade. Fifth-and eighth-graders must also pass the math portion. Students who fail are given opportunities for retests and remediation.
In Cobb County Schools, third-graders saw gains in reading, social studies and science, but dropped points in English and math over last year’s scores. Social studies saw the largest bump of 4.4 percentage points from 83.4 percent to 87.8 percent.
Cobb fifth graders saw across-the-board gains, with the biggest improvement seen in social studies from 80.6 percentage points to 83.9, a 3.3 percent increase.
Eighth-grade students saw more of a mixed-bag of results, staying the same in reading at 97.9 percentage points, a drop in English/language arts and social studies scores but improvements in math and science. Math saw a 5 percentage point jump over last year’s scores.
Krause noted that all three grade levels reported improved scores in reading and science.
“We also improved in math at grades 5 and 8 and social studies in grades 3 and 5,” she said.
Krause said a full analysis will be completed once additional reports are received and areas for improvement will be determined at the classroom, school and district level.
Marietta sees positive trends, except 3rd grade
In Marietta, scores for third-graders improved in only two of the five since 2012. Scores in English dropped by 1.8 percentage points; math, 1.3 percentage points; and science, 0.3 percentage points.
Fifth-graders in Marietta increased scores in every area except English, where scores dropped by .8 percentage points. The largest gains were seen in math and social studies scores. Math scores improved by 12 percentage points and social studies by 10.4.
Scores for students in eighth grade improved in three areas, remained the same in science and dropped by .7 percentage points in English.
Lembeck said that in looking at grades three, five and eight, it is clear to her that they have some work to do. However, in all grades, three through eight, the district as a whole improved in 70 percent of tests.
“For more rigorous standards, I think this is pretty good when you realize that the declines are so slight and the curriculum is so much more stringent,” she said.
She also noted that the scores released Tuesday did not reflect retests or CRCT scores for students with disabilities, and Lembeck reminded parents that for third graders this was the first time these students had ever taken a test like this.
“This is their first try and after a year of a more rigorous curriculum, when you really look at that, I think they’ve made progress,” Lembeck said. “I feel optimistic about the results that we received.”
Lembeck said the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards increased from 55.6 percent in 2012 to 61.4 percent in 2013.
She compares her district’s overall scores to how the state performs.
“We surpassed the state in 63 percent of the tests last year and this year we surpassed the state in 77 percent of the tests,” she said.
Lembeck said the city schools will continue to focus on professional development with the new Common Core standards and many of the teachers are doing just that this summer.
“As always, we’ll continue to strive to do better,” she said. “We need to see the individual school scores and get more information about them to see where we really need improvement and in which schools and which areas.”
School-by-school CRCT results will be released no later than July 10, according to Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza.