CONYERS -- At least two schools in Rockdale County have a little more work to do regarding the 2009 spring Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.
After several schools and their administrators around Georgia were accused of changing their students' answers on the CRCT to get better results, the state's Governor's Office of Student Achievement launched a statewide analysis of results to see if any other schools were guilty of the same.
According to the GOSA, 80 percent of Georgia's elementary and middle schools fell into the "clear" category, meaning that less than 6 percent of the classes within a given school were flagged; 10 percent of schools placed in the "minimal concern," with 6 to 10 percent of classes flagged; 6 percent were determined to be in the "moderate concern" category, with 11 to 24 percent flagged; and 4 percent were termed "severe concern," with 25 percent or more of classes flagged for wrong-to-right changes.
"Important decisions will be made from this data that are critical to the future of Georgia's children," said GOSA Deputy Director Eric Wearne in a press release Wednesday. "Overall, Georgia's schools are performing well and continue to excel in student achievement."
In Rockdale County, two schools were deemed "minimal concern" and all others fell into the "clear" category. C.J. Hicks Elementary School had 10.3 percent and Barksdale Elementary School had 5.8 percent; the GOSA said although Barksdale did not have a 6 percent rate, the number would be rounded up and the school placed in the "minimal concern" category.
Overall, RCPS had 2.6 percent of its classes flagged, according to Gene Baker, assistant superintendent for RCPS. Schools in the "clear" category ranged from having 0 to 4.4 percent of their classes flagged.
"Based on the definitions provided by the GOSA report, our district is in the clear category," RCPS Superintendent Samuel King said in a prepared statement Thursday. "We will be analyzing the data and following GOSA and (the Georgia Department of Education) recommendations for improvement. We seek continuous improvement with everything we do and will address any areas of concern. We are proud of our system and the work being done to put us in the clear category. We realize the additional pressure placed on students, teachers, administrators and parents during testing and look forward to making this spring another great testing period."
The GOSA teamed up with CTB-McGraw Hill, the state's testing vendor in charge of developing and scoring CRCT exams, to conduct an erasure analysis on schools' CRCTs. It examined the number of wrong answers that had been changed to right answers on student answer sheets in reading, English-language arts and math.
"The analysis looked on average at 125,000 test takers in every subject and grade level at which the CRCT was administered and provided a clear picture of typical student test behavior against which all schools could be compared," said GOSA Executive Director Kathleen Mathers in the press release. "Our recommendations are intended to eliminate future problems and help students who have been adversely affected by test tampering."
After the analysis, the state placed schools in categories based on their percentage of flagged classrooms, or those with a high number of erasure marks that resulted in correct answers.
According to the GOSA, schools in the "minimal concern" category will have Local Education Agencies monitor test environments or rotate teachers and will offer student support services based on any irregularities found. Those with moderate and severe concerns will undergo state and local investigations, notify parents of irregularities, rotate teachers and offer student support.
Georgia students in third, fifth and eighth grades must meet or exceed standards on the CRCT in reading and fifth- and eighth-grade students also must meet or exceed the standards in math to be promoted to the next grade level.
The 2009 CRCT results showed that the average percentage of first- through eighth-grade students in RCPS who met or exceeded standards, or passed the test, were above state pass averages in 32 out of the 34 areas that the Georgia Department of Education reported for the year.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, 98 percent of third graders at Barksdale Elementary passed reading, 94.9 percent passed English and 89.9 passed math; 87.1 percent of third graders at C.J. Hicks passed reading, 90.1 passed English and 73.3 passed math. At Barksdale, 93.3 percent of its fifth-grade students passed reading, 94.4 passed English and 93.3 passed math; at C.J. Hicks, 88.4 passed reading, 96.4 passed English and 79.6 passed math.
CRCT data, as well as other factors like attendance, determine a school's Adequate Yearly Progress, as required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Schools and school systems in Georgia that don't meet AYP may be place on the state's Needs Improvement list, depending on their pass performance. In 2009, all RCPS schools met AYP and no schools are on the Needs Improvement list.
A complete list of Georgia schools and their CRCT analysis results are available on the GOSA Web site, www.gaosa.org.