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Bulloch teachers 'upset' about CRCT
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    Bulloch County students who failed portions of a state-mandated test are hitting the books again during a summer remediation program aimed towards improving their test scores.
    In spite of questions educators are asking regarding the accuracy and fairness of the Criterion Referenced Competency Test, students must still complete the remediation program and take the test over in order to be promoted to the next grade.
    Students failing the math and/or reading portions of the  CRCT  were not promoted, but the summer remediation program offers them a second chance, said Bulloch County School Superintendent Dr. Lewis Holloway.
    Dr. Jody Woodrum, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning (prekindergarten through fifth grade) said students in third grade who failed reading, as well as those in fifth grade who failed reading and/or math, are eligible for the program and were immediately enrolled.
    Classes began this week.
    Eighth graders failing either math or reading portions of the test were also enrolled, said Fran Stephens, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning (6-12 grades).
    According to Associated Press reports, about 40 percent of Georgia eighth-graders didn’t pass the math CRCT this year, compared to 19 percent last year.
    But Bulloch County percentages were lower than the state average, Holloway said. Thirty-eight percent of Bulloch's eighth graders failed the math portion, but those same students scored much higher in the previous years,  which he said indicated there are issues with the tests.
    "We know the kids didn't change," he said. "In our opinion, these tests are inaccurate."
    There are questions about the test's social studies portion, which about 80 percent of students statewide failed, he said.  Social studies scores were not factors in a student's promotion, but the test scores were tossed, he said. "Any test is supposed to be reliable. That's unacceptable, and the state did the right thing" by invalidating that portion of the CRCT.
    Since other tests did not reflect low scores in these areas with the same students, Holloway said he feels the CRCT scores are invalid.
    "Teachers are upset," he said. "The  test changed and doesn't reflect the curriculum the state had them teach. It doesn't reflect their hard work or the students' hard work."
    This year isn't the first time  there have been problems with  the CRCT scores, he said.
    In 2001, testing officials lowered "cut scores," or lowered the numbers of answers a students needed to get correct in order to pass the test, he said.
    
 Summer school/summer remediation
    The summer remediation is necessary, however, for students to take the CRCT again and be promoted. The Bulloch County Board of Education hired additional teachers to handle the summer classes, which are no charge to the student, he said.
    But the summer remediation differs from summer school. Students taking the remediation classes do not get class credits towards graduation requirements. Summer school is for high school age students working to make up classes failed that are required for graduation, Stephens said.
    If a student failed the CRCT math and/or reading portions, parents can still appeal to the school to promote the student "if a child has shown adequate progress to move on," he said.
    While the final decision regarding the state test scores is still up in the air, Holloway said he feels that students"who made A's and B's and worked hard" will not be failed "after the dust settles."
    However, the remediation classes are currently required by law if students wish to be promoted, Stephens said.
    The Associated Press has reported similar reactions across the state, with the high failure rates upset many parents, who said students weren’t taught the material on which they were tested.
    The social studies scores were discarded, but state education officials maintain the math scores are accurate.
    Math and reading CRCT scores are among the measurements Georgia uses to meet federal No Child Left Behind standards.