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CRCT showing pleases school district
Scores climb in math
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Forsyth County News

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For more on the Forsyth County school system’s CRCT results, go online at www.doe.k12.ga.us.

The Forsyth County school system’s third- through eighth-graders posted another high-achieving year.

According to state results released Wednesday, local students performed among the highest in Georgia on the 2011 CRCT, or Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

And Forsyth’s eighth-grade math results led the state, with its fourth-graders tying Oconee County for first place in math.

The county also ranked second in several categories, including sixth- and seventh-grade math and science.

"Once again we are thrilled with our CRCT scores, recognizing that it represents the outstanding work of our teachers and the hard work of our students who always perform at their highest levels," said Buster Evans, superintendent.

"While this may be perhaps some of the highest scores we have ever seen across the board, we will continue to use this as an opportunity to obtain achievement at higher levels."

Forsyth students bested the state averages — and improved in several areas ­— over the past year, with the results showing that at least 90 percent of all county students met or exceeded standards.

Associate Superintendent Lissa Pijanowski said the system looks specifically at annual improvement, but with scores that are already in the 98th percentile, "sometimes it’s hard to see the growth."

But it’s there, she said, particularly when the results are broken into students who not only met the standard, but topped it.

"We are consistently seeing over the last three years or so that our percentages of students that are performing at the exceeds level has risen consistently and we are thrilled about that," she said.

Across the board, the county school system’s results were in the top 10 for every grade level in each of the five categories — math, science, reading, social studies and English/language arts.

The lone exception was eighth-grade reading, where students ranked 13th in the state, despite 99.1 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standards.

The drop from last year’s showing was slight.

In 2010, 99.4 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded the state standard in reading, placing Forsyth fifth in Georgia.

Pijanowski said the result was an anomaly in a category where students are typically strong.

"Eighth-grade reading has been extremely high," she said. "We’re not extremely alarmed, but it did cause us to question it."

The strong showing in math was especially gratifying for school officials.

"Math has been a big focus over the last several years," Pijanowski said. "Math curriculum has changed quite a bit, so we have been focusing on that … and we’re thrilled at the growth in the areas of math."

Despite outpacing most systems statewide in science, the subject was not the strongest locally.

Scores ranged from 90.2 percent to 96.5 percent meeting or exceeding the standards.

With most other test areas ranging in the 96 to 99 percent range for results, Pijanowski said science will remain a focus for the system.

She noted that performance in the subject soon will be another indicator for Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, a measurement for determining annual achievement.

"Math and science are such a huge part of the future of our work force and how we need to be preparing students," she said. "Science will actually be the next big area that we will be focusing in on … to better prepare kids for middle and high school."

Social studies, which was offered for just the second time this year, is another area in which Forsyth has seen improvement, Pijanowski said.

The best way to keep raising those is to by working on reading and math.

"One of the things we’ve seen is that when our scores go up in reading and math, it impacts positively science and social studies," she said.

"We really work on the rigor of our curriculum in assuring students are assessed all year long in the classroom in a manner that will best prepare them for achievement on the CRCT."