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District scores high on CRCT
Tops state average in nearly every case
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Forsyth County News
At a glance

One hundred percent of students met or exceeded the standard in a particular subject area of the CRCT at the following schools:

• Chattahoochee Elementary: fifth grade reading (English Language Learners)

• Daves Creek Elementary: third grade reading; fourth grade reading; fourth grade reading (English Language Learners)

• Johns Creek Elementary: fourth grade reading

• Riverwatch Middle School: seventh grade reading (English Language Learners)

• Settles Bridge Elementary: first grade reading; third grade reading; fifth grade reading (English Language Learners)

• Sharon Elementary: second grade reading; fifth grade reading; fifth grade reading (English Language Learners)

Source: Forsyth County Schools

Recent test results have further solidified Forsyth County Schools' ranking among the best in the state.

The Criterion Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT, is a curriculum-based test given to students in first through eighth grades. It measures competency in English/language arts, reading, math, science and social studies.

“Across the board, we’re very pleased with the results,” said Superintendent Buster Evans. “You see individual school performances all being higher than the Georgia average in almost every case and in most cases, significantly higher than the Georgia average. And we certainly have that expectation that that’s where we ought to be.”

For first-grade reading, 97.4 percent of students met or exceeded the state’s standards. The state average was 90.9.

In eighth-grade math, 92.5 percent of the county’s students met and exceeded standards, as compared to 70.1 percent of the state’s students.

The test is taken at all grade levels in elementary and middle schools, but students in third, fifth and eighth grades must meet or exceed state expectations to move onto the next grade.

The county system has consistently topped the state’s average, but Evans said the priority is also for each school to exceed its previous scores.

“While we have very, very high scores in meeting expectations, one of the things that we’re more and more looking at is the percentage of students that exceed expectations,” he said.

“We understand there will be differences in achievement levels at different schools, but it doesn’t stop us from trying to improve at every level.”

Improvements were clear at some elementary schools, said Beth Kieffer, assessment director for the school system.

“I did look across each school at every subject and calculated the gains and losses,” she said. “I was excited to see that in elementary schools, Midway and Settles Bridge actually made a 49 percent gain in the percent of meets and exceeds from 2008 to 2009 and Silver City made a 25 percent gain.”

Piney Grove and Vickery Creek middle schools posted 59 percent and 51 percent gains, respectively, she said.

Singling out schools is difficult, Kieffer said, because all results were so high.

“Everybody worked really hard,” she said. “There are some schools that have 100s all the way across, or 97, 98 and 99s. It was just really exciting looking at the data from this year.”  

Buster Evans said he couldn’t help noticing northwestern Forsyth's Liberty Middle School, which was among the county’s top performing schools for eighth-grade results.

“Sometimes people have this perception that you’ve got to be in the right portion of the county,” he said. “But when you look at Liberty Middle School, they are competing right up there with any middle school in other areas of our county.”

Now that results have been approved by the state, Evans said the next step is going to be “cause analysis.” The system will review each school and determine why one grade may not have fared as well as others or why one school did not improve in a certain area.

The answer, he said, could be as simple as spending more time, adjusting curriculum or that the grade has a higher percentage of special needs students.

“You just need to adjust whatever you’re doing to find those opportunities for improvement,” he said. “We see some areas where we just really, really did well and we see some areas where we can make some improvements.

“Not everybody’s going to be in first place, but our goal is to try to continuously improve.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at jennifersami@forsythnews.com.