The 2012 system-level Criterion-Referenced Competency Test results came as no surprise for local school leaders as students fared well in reading and English, but lagged behind the state average, at the elementary level, for science, math and social studies.
The CRCT tests students in third through eighth grades in five categories. The scores are used as a barometer of success for the system.
The tests also weigh heavily on the College and Career Ready Performance Index, the new school accountability system that replaces Adequate Yearly Progress.
“(The CRCT) still is the measuring stick for our schools at the summative level,” said Jamey Moore, director of curriculum and instruction for Gainesville City Schools. “So the accountability remains the same; it’s just the targets are more realistic.”
He said under AYP, the target for students was 100 percent proficiency in all subjects and subgroups by 2014.
Under the new system, previous scores are used as a benchmark and constant progress is the goal.
“The bar is specific to each of the groups and the expectation is growth, not perfection,” Moore said.
Gainesville schools were below state averages in most categories but saw an increase across all grade levels from last year’s scores.
In all but three categories — fifth-grade English and language arts, fifth-grade math and eighth-grade science — the city system posted increased scores.
Some of the biggest increases came in elementary social studies.
In 2011, 65.5 percent of third-grade students in Gainesville’s system met or exceeded the standards. This year, 77.9 percent did.
Fifth- and eighth-grade students posed a double-digit increase as well.
“We’re pleased with the gains that we’ve seen,” Moore said. “We’re happy to see the growth in science and social studies.”
Hall County Schools’ scores paralleled the state average in most categories.
However, at the elementary level, science and social studies scores were below the state’s.
But, in those same categories, the middle schools fared better than last year.
In 2011, 71.3 percent of eighth-grade students met or exceeded standards in science. This year, 77.7 percent of students did.
“It’s no surprise,” said Will Schofield, Hall superintendent. “We’ve done about what we suspected we would do, and now we’ll have to dig into school by school, classroom by classroom and start to see where the ‘aha’ moments are.”
Schofield said the scores allow school officials to identify “outliers” and address what the system is doing right and what it can do better.
“It allows us to show where classrooms perform statistically significantly above or below what the predicted scores would have been,” he said. “Those are opportunities to zero in and see what the best practices are in classes that are doing well and dig in and figure out why maybe some are not going so well.”
The school-level scores will be released by the state no later than July 12.
That data will provide the system with more detailed information, including subgroup performance.
“We like what we see with our all-students data, but we’re interested in the demographic breakdown when you get to the disaggregated data as well,” Moore said.