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CRCTs profile is too high
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Forsyth County News
As they went to sleep last Sunday night, it wasn’t visions of the Easter Bunny that danced in the heads of local youngsters as they came to the end of a relaxing spring break. It was the knowledge that Monday brought with it a return to school — and that looming ahead were the dreaded CRCTs.

Forsyth County students, as well as those in many other school systems, spent hours last week filling in bubbles with No. 2 pencils in order to show the world what they have accomplished in their academic careers.

It is inane that the drive for “accountability” in public education has reached the point that youngsters worry days in advance of any mandatory standardized test; that the stress level is such that schools have to plan pleasant diversions to help students relax; that the importance of doing well is emphasized to the point that students, especially young ones, can be consumed by performance concerns.

And yet that is sometimes the case.

Results from the state’s Criterion Reference Competency Test have become a cornerstone for establishing whether schools are doing what they are supposed to do. Scores from the tests are used to evaluate not only individual student performance, but also the performance of schools and school systems statewide.

Do a Web search for Georgia’s CRCT and you will find that it has spawned a cottage industry of sorts — special opportunities for training to prepare for the tests, remedial work for those who need it, study guides, workbooks.

If you didn’t know better, you would think that the CRCT had become more important to education in the state than classroom teachers, school administrators, students and parents. But we know better. Don’t we?

Students in grades one through eight take some portion of the state mandated CRCT each year, and every year the importance of doing well on the tests seems to be emphasized more.

That’s a shame.

When you look at all the mandated standardized testing done of students, you have to wonder what might be taught in the classroom if that time and energy was spent on instruction instead. When you realize the seeming life-and-death urgency placed on one specific test by the state, you have to wonder if the quest for accountability hasn’t taken a terribly wrong turn somewhere along the way.