Georgia's elementary and middle school students posted mixed results on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in the recently completed 2013-14 school year when compared to the previous year.
The Georgia Department of Education released state-level results Thursday morning; district- and school-level results are expected in the coming weeks.
Sixth-graders showed the most gains. They posted higher pass rates in four of the five tested areas, and an unchanged pass rate in English/language arts (92 percent).
While eighth-graders didn't post improvements in as many areas as sixth-graders, eighth-grader did see more significant improvements in some tested areas. They posted the highest gains of any grade level in science (up 4 percentage points to 78 percent passing) and social studies (up 3 percentage points to 81 percent). Math dropped in this level by 1 percentage point, to 82 percent passing; and reading remained unchanged at 97 percent.
Fourth-graders posted high pass rates overall, yet those percentages slipped from their counterparts who took the test in 2012-13. English/language arts, math and science saw lower pass rates in 2013-14, reading rose 1 percentage point to 94 percent passing, and social studies stayed the same at 81 percent.
Overall, students in Georgia's elementary and middle school students secured gains, as measured by the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards, on 14 of 30 content-area CRCTs taken this year in grades three through eight. Eight areas showed no change, while another eight areas showed decreases. Decreases ranged from 1 to 2 percentage points, while increases ranged from 1 to 4 percentage points. No decreases were experienced on reading tests: grades four, five and six saw gains, while grades three, seven and eight stayed the same.
Students took the CRCT for the last time in 2013-14. Beginning next year, all students in grades 3-8 will take the Georgia Milestones. The new testing system is one consistent program across grades 3-12, rather than a series of individual tests. It will include open-ended questions to better gauge students' content mastery and, with some exceptions for special education students with specific testing accommodations, will be administered entirely online by the fifth year of implementation.
Georgia Milestones will be aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in English/language arts and math and Georgia Performance Standards in science and social studies. This testing system will require more from students than the CRCT and End-of-Course Tests it replaces, with the goal of better preparing students for college and careers and providing a more realistic picture of academic progress.