State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox has honored five Hall County schools with Distinguished Achievement Awards for students' gains on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.
The awards are given to the 10 schools that made the greatest gains in each subject and grade level tested on the CRCT, the state assessment given each spring that measures a school's yearly progress under the federal mandate of No Child Left Behind.
Awards were given to the schools based on each category and grade level with the largest increases in the percentage of students passing the CRCT or End of Course Test given to high school students.
Eloise Barron, Hall County schools assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said she attributes the score jumps to the school system's emphasis on the new Georgia Performance Standards.
"It's a way of Kathy Cox looking at improvement," Barron said. "If your scores were low and you moved up a considerable amount, she took the top 10 that moved up."
She said Hall County schools have implemented the new math standards using the Singapore Math program, which places an emphasis on students understanding the reasoning behind math concepts, formulas and computations rather than simply memorizing the facts. Barron said she credits Hall County Schools' Balanced Literacy Framework - which blends reading, speaking and listening skills - with the jump in reading, literature and language arts scores.
"We're making some real strides in our elementary school literacy," Barron said.
The school system has a literacy goal that aims for 90 percent of its students to be reading on or above grade level by the end of third grade, she said.
Chicopee Woods Elementary received the award for students' performance on the fourth-grade social studies test, and Lyman Hall Elementary received the award for fourth-grader's performance on the reading test. Sugar Hill Elementary second-graders received two awards, one in English language arts and the other in math.
Chestatee and West Hall high schools each earned awards for ninth-grade students' performance on the literature portion of the End of Course Test, which also factors into AYP under No Child Left Behind.