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Radium Middle excels in CRCT

ALBANY, Ga. -- Radium Springs Middle School's eighth-grade class improved its passing percentage in its reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies sections on the 2010 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), according to school-level results released by the state late Thursday afternoon.

Radium improved 25.5 percent in its social studies section with a 50.5 percent passing rate and 14.6 percent on its math portion with 56.9 percent of students passing.

Magnolia Elementary School's fifth-graders also posted improvements in all five categories. Its largest increase came in math with a 14.8 percent improvement to 74 percent passing, compared to last year's 59.2 percent.

Dougherty County School System eighth-graders combined to improve in 19 sections, but decreased their passing percentage in 10 sections and had the same score in one section. Albany Middle School also performed well with improvements in four of its five sections.

Unfortunately, the system's combined fifth-grade passing percentages decreased in 51 of the sections and improved in only 29. International Studies, Radium Springs and Sylvester Road elementary schools each posted improvements in four of the five sections.

On the other hand, Lincoln, Lamar Reese, West Town, Jackson Heights and Sherwood Acres elementary schools each had decreases in each of the five sections.

"On first glance, there are some areas in which we can be proud," DCSS Public Information Director R.D. Harter said. "We know our teachers are working hard on the new Georgia Performance Standards, where the increase for the annual measurable objective was increased in math significantly this year, and that affected our scores tremendously."

Harter also noted that this year's test environment included state-mandated officials monitoring the test administration as a result of erasure analysis results released by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement in February. The added scrutiny was due to the DCSS having eight of its elementary schools on the GOSA's "Severe Concern" list with 25 percent or more of its class sections flagged for wrong-to-right erasures. It also had six more schools that fell into the "Moderate Concern" level with 11 percent to 24 percent of class sections flagged.

"The testing environment this year caused much concern about the students' ability to be tested in a meaningful way because students were tested in an environment unlike last year's," Harter said. "They didn't have their regular teachers testing them; in addition to that, they had proctors they weren't used to and there were questions from parents about whether children or students could erase or not. There were mixed messages."

Mitchell County Middle School posted improvements in five test areas for its eighth-graders. Worth Middle had better scores in four of its five sections. Terrell Middle and Baconton Charter increased their scores in three of the five sections, while Lee County's eighth-graders improved in only two of the five sections.

In fifth-grade, Terrell County's Carver Elementary improved its scores in all five sections, and Lee County Elementary had improvements in four of its five sections. Lee County's Twin Oaks Elementary bettered its scores in three of the five areas.

The Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests are curriculum-based exams given to first- through eighth-grade students in Georgia public schools. Students are tested in reading, English/language arts and mathematics. Students in third through eighth grade are also tested in science and social studies. Social studies results were not available in 2009 for sixth- and seventh-graders due to a new test being administered.

Third-grade students are required to pass the reading exam to advance to the next grade. Students in the fifth and eighth grades need to pass the reading and math tests to advance.