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Testing standards open for comment
State asks for input on CRCT revisions
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Forsyth County News
Parents and students can now comment on revised testing standards for sixth- and seventh-graders.
The state recently opened a forum for comment after scores on the social studies portion of this year's CRCT, or Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, plummeted so low in sixth- and seventh-grade that the results were thrown out.
The CRCT is a standardized test designed to track the progress of students and is a cornerstone of No Child Left Behind.
Michel Satterfield, a Forsyth County teaching and learning specialist, said the state wants to essentially change two things: Redesign the test and narrow the workload.
"They're proposing to reduce the sheer amount of information the students were asked to master to a more reasonable level," he said. "And it's pretty important that the state hears from parents and students."
In addition to sixth- and seventh- grade standards, parents can comment for grades 3 through 5 and 9 through 12 online at until August.
Before the 2008-2009 school year begins, the state board of education will likely approve revised standards.
Satterfield, along with North Forsyth Middle School principal Jeff Hunt, served on a committee compiled by State Superintendent Kathy Cox to revise the standards.
"My impression of what's going on at the state department is that they're listening," said Satterfield.
"I haven't known the state not to be receptive but right now they're particularly interested in hearing from everybody."
Lissa Pijanowski, director of school improvement, accountability and assessment, said at a recent Board of Education meeting that local students were actually more prepared than those from other districts.
"We were number one in the state in social studies for sixth-grade. So it's kind of a hard pill to swallow that those were invalidated, when you're number one in the state," she said.
"We did eliminate all scores immediately once the decision was made from all student records."
About 60 percent of local sixth graders passed the social studies portion of the test, while roughly 55 percent of the seventh-grades met or exceeded standards.
By comparison, statewide 71 percent of sixth-graders and 76 percent of seventh graders did not meet standards.
"The state has acknowledged [the test] wasn't an accurate assessment of what any student knew," Satterfield said.
"It was an issue with the test and the design of the test, not what students are asked to do in the classroom and definitely not what the teachers are trained to do. I'm pretty confident that our kids did the job and our teachers did the job."