Local Teachers Talk CRCT

May 21, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX) - Georgia Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox says the results of the state social studies exams 6th and 7th graders took earier this year, will be discarded.  Students took new tests this year to correspond with a tougher curriculum in math and social studies.

Preliminary data for public school students taking the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test or CRCT in Georgia reflects a statewide "assessment issue".  That issue has been closely monitored by State Superintendent Kathy Cox. The result?  Social studies scores for 6th and 7th graders ruled invalid.

Shirley Paulk, a local social studies teacher said, "I'm not the expert sitting in Atlanta making the decisions or making the test, all I can go by is the number that they've given us which is really disheartening, but we know we've taught the standards and we will continue to do that."

Low test scores in Social Studies is not just a Muscogee County problem, it's a statewide issue. In a letter to local superintendents Wednesday Cox stated she plans to ask a group of teachers and other experts to help determine what went wrong. Meanwhile scores from the eighth-grade math exam will stand, even though about 40 percent of students failed statewide.

"Well it's a high stakes test for these students and the curriculum was new this year, we changed our standards and they're very challenging standards. About 50-percent of what we taught this year was Algebra," said Carol Sutcliffe, an 8th grade math teacher.

The CRCT is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards and the Quality Core Curriculum.

That information is then used to determine individual strengths and weaknesses.

"If there's a problem, it is statewide, and I have faith in our system that we will deal with it and we will get it right."

A new curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards, has been implemented by the state over the last three years in all subject areas.  Official test scores are slated to be released next month.