EDITORIAL: Bibb scores have a ways to go toward profiecient

June 26, 2014 

The Bibb County School System can’t seem to catch a break. The results from the 2014 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests are in, and, as in prior years, the system is not making state averages in most cases. The CRCT is given to third- through eighth-graders in reading and language arts, math, science and social studies.

In 2014, the state’s average math scores were 87.7 for fifth-graders and 80.7 for third-graders. Bibb’s fifth-graders scored 79.0 and third-graders scored 63.9, some 16.8 percentage points behind the state average. In social studies, the district took a huge hit with sixth-graders posting a score of 61.7 and seventh-graders at 69.3.

While it’s natural to compare year-over-year results, it’s helpful to remember that the CRCT is designed for individual student improvement. Meaning today’s fifth-grader was last year’s fourth-grader. The CRCT identifies where that individual student needs to improve and helps teachers target strategies for that improvement. Many people also compare schools using CRCT scores, but that’s not a valid use of the statistics, according to the state Department of Education.

It is clear, however, that you can look at the overall numbers to paint a picture of how effective a school or a school system might be. Houston County overall scores in the CRCT areas generally exceeded statewide scores.

School systems all over the state are preparing for the tests called the Georgia Milestones Assessment System that will replace the CRCT and the End Of Course Test in the 2014-15 school year. Those tests will be more rigorious than the CRCT or the EOCT and are tied to Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Students will have to write more and show how they solve problems.State administrators have warned that scores could take a hit when compared with this year’s CRCT or EOCT. Let’s hope for the best.

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