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Local students CRCT test scores rise slightly
State scores higher in several subjects
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Third Grade

  • Reading: 92.8 (Hall County), 87.8 (Gainesville), 90.9 (state)
  • English/Language Arts: 87.6 (Hall County), 85.2 (Gainesville), 89.1 (state)
  • Math: 81.1 (Hall County), 72.4 (Gainesville), 81.2 (state)
  • Science: 77 (Hall County), 70.6 (Gainesville), 80.5 (state)
  • Social studies: 71.4 (Hall County), 65.5 (Gainesville), 81 (state)

Fourth Grade

  • Reading: 88.8 (Hall County), 83.2 (Gainesville), 87.9 (state)
  • English/Language Arts: 86.7 (Hall County), 82.4 (Gainesville), 88 (state)
  • Math: 82 (Hall County), 71.9 (Gainesville), 81.1 (state)
  • Science: 71.9 (Hall County), 66.7 (Gainesville), 79 (state)
  • Social studies: 71.3 (Hall County), 66.3 (Gainesville), 77.4 (state)

Fifth Grade

  • Reading: 89.1 (Hall County), 82.2 (Gainesville), 90.5 (state)
  • English/Language Arts: 91.1 (Hall County), 92.3 (Gainesville), 93 (state)
  • Math: 83.6 (Hall County), 86.3 (Gainesville), 86.6 (state)
  • Science: 67.1 (Hall County), 64.5 (Gainesville), 76.6 (state)
  • Social studies: 59.7 (Hall County), 53.6 (Gainesville), 71.3 (state)

Sixth Grade

  • Reading: 94.2 (Hall County), 89.9 (Gainesville), 93.9 (state)
  • English/Language Arts: 90.1 (Hall County), 88.2 (Gainesville), 91.2 (state)
  • Math: 75.6 (Hall County), 69.6 (Gainesville), 76.4 (state)
  • Science: 74.6 (Hall County), 66.1 (Gainesville), 70.9 (state)
  • Social studies: 73.5 (Hall County), 74.6 (Gainesville), 71.6 (state)

Seventh Grade

  • Reading: 90.4 (Hall County), 79.1 (Gainesville), 90.9 (state)
  • English/Language Arts: 92.2 (Hall County), 86 (Gainesville), 93.1 (state)
  • Math: 90.6 (Hall County), 80.3 (Gainesville), 89.4 (state)
  • Science: 81.2 (Hall County), 76.2 (Gainesville), 82.2 (state)
  • Social studies: 79.1 (Hall County), 70.4 (Gainesville), 74.9 (state)

Eighth Grade

  • Reading: 95.1 (Hall County), 91.4 (Gainesville), 96 (state)
  • English/Language Arts: 91.5 (Hall County), 87.1 (Gainesville), 92.8 (state)
  • Math: 76.3 (Hall County), 75.7 (Gainesville), 77.7 (state)
  • Science: 71.3 (Hall County), 58.7 (Gainesville), 67.1 (state)
  • Social studies: 72.5 (Hall County), 63.6 (Gainesville), 72.5 (state)

Local students this year performed slightly better on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests but did not score as high as state numbers in many subject areas.

The CRCT tests students in third through fifth grades in reading, English-language arts, math, science and social studies. The test affects whether a student passes on to the next grade and is one of the factors used to determine if a school has made Adequate Yearly Progress. If schools fail to make AYP, they face a series of escalating consequences — including having state officials step in to run individual schools.

In 2010, first- and second-graders also had to take the CRCT, but state budget cuts this year eliminated that.

"We have areas to celebrate," Gainesville Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer wrote in an email to The Times. "The reading and English-language arts scores in grades six and eight improved over last year, and the English-language arts in grade five. Math in grade five was an improvement area also."

Dyer said students who have been in Gainesville City Schools for three or more years, regardless of poverty, performed adequately or very well on the CRCT this year. But Gainesville City Schools only exceeded state scores in one area, sixth-grade social studies.

Math in third, fourth and sixth grades and science and social studies in all grades proved difficult for students.

"We may have an issue in grade four math in aligning standards with our benchmarks, the tests we use to predict the CRCT," Dyer said. "The state as a whole seems to have this issue. We are examining this to improve our instructional management system."

Jamey Moore, Gainesville City Schools director of curriculum and instruction, said he looks for two things on CRCT scores — elevation of subgroups' scores and closing the achievement gap.

"Students can fall in multiple categories," he said. "One student can impact four different areas."

English language learners and economically disadvantaged subgroups did not perform as well as others, Moore said.

"We attribute this to the difficulties with reading and understanding the language of the standards and the test, and of the decreased staff that we've had at the elementary school level for the past three years," Dyer said.

More English as a Second Language teachers will be in place next school year, Dyer said.

In Hall County, 93 percent showed improvement over the 2010 CRCT.

"We increased to some extent at every grade level in all content areas," said Eloise Barron, Hall County assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. "We had anywhere from a tenth of a point increase to 13 points."

Barron said the county's main challenge is reaching its goal of 90 percent of students reading at or above grade level by third grade and increasing emphasis on science.

Patty Robinson, Hall County director of early literacy and school improvement, said at the elementary level, science is integrated into other content areas instead of having time set aside for just that topic.

"Right now we're not in the ditch with science scores. We're not saying science scores are not good," Barron said.

However, she added, because science scores will be a second indicator for Hall County beginning this year, it's important the county's scores do not fall in the future.

Forsyth, Jackson, Banks and White counties met or exceeded state scores in all content areas at all grade levels. Lumpkin County CRCT scores only fell short in sixth-grade reading and ELA and eighth-grade ELA.

Dawson County performed well in all areas except third-grade math and sixth-grade ELA. Habersham County missed the mark on sixth-grade math, eighth-grade math and fifth-grade reading, ELA, science and social studies.

Poor performance on the CRCT does not mean students will not move onto the next grade, Moore said. Each case is handled on an individual basis and includes other feedback such as teacher recommendations.

There are 450 Gainesville students in summer programs to get additional math and reading help for the CRCT, portions of which will be re-administered June 28-30.

"That's challenging in that the state only allows certain groups to retake," Moore said. "Fourth-graders can't retake at all. Third and fifth can retake but only in reading. At the middle school, only eighth grade does retakes and of those they're only allowed to retake math and reading."

Hall County students retook portions of the CRCT the week after school let out in May, but those scores are not reflected in this set of numbers.

"Having students so close and giving them a few days to focus on areas where they need remediation ... For half of them to pull over the pass line speaks a lot to where we are," Barron said.