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School system CRCT retests a success

POSTED: September 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Summer CRCT retest scores show improvement for Effingham County students who did not meet standards in the spring.

Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff said reading is the only gateway test required for third grade students. In the system, 76 students did not meet standards. The state requires school districts to provide remediation for students who do not meet standards on the CRCT.

There were 70 students who took the test again, two of whom weren’t in the system in the spring.

“For them to be considered for moving on to the next grade we went ahead and tested them also,” he said. “You’ll see about two thirds of the students met or exceeded the standards when retested in the summer for a total of 67 percent of those who attempted the test on the second try.”

He said on the fifth grade reading test 53 did not meet standards, 44 retested and of the students to retake the test, 68 percent met or exceeded the standards.

There is a gateway test in math in the CRCT for fifth grade students. Arnsdorff noted that the state math scores were a point of contention across the state with the changes in the cut scores. As a result, 158 students in the district did not meet standards. Of that total, 145 were retested and offered remediation and more than half passed the test during the summer.”

He said eighth grade students also have reading and math as a gateway test to be promoted to the ninth grade.

Across the district, 44 students did not meet or exceed standards and 21 chose to take the test again. More than half met or exceeded standards on the retest, according to Arnsdorff.

“The one (where) we took the biggest hit on, as all school districts did around the state, was eighth grade math, “ he said, noting 243 students did not meet standards.

He said the system developed a scale with the math consultant to identify if students should go through a two-week remediation session or through the entirety of summer school, which lasted through June.

“We developed a scale where we believed that students could come maybe for two weeks and get enough remediation that they could get over the hump,” Arnsdorff said. “We said, ‘Come for the first two weeks test, and we think that will be sufficient,’ and I think our numbers prove that that worked out.”

On a June 11 retest, 80 percent of the students from the two-week session met or exceeded the standards.

“We were pleased that the students didn’t have to come any longer than they needed to,” Arnsdorff said.

He said students who had lower scores and needed more assistance went for the entire summer school session.

“You see their scores didn’t rise quite to that level, but we still had almost two thirds of those students meet or exceed standards on the retest for summer,” Arnsdorff said.

He said state and local policies allow for an appeal process that let a committee to look at individual student’s data to determine if the student should be retained or promoted.

“That’s what summer looked like,” Arnsdorff said. “We had a lot of teachers working. We had buildings open, we had transportation used and we await to see the numbers from the state. We are going to be provided some additional funds to recoup the money that we spent this year. Of course, we are in a new budget year, so I don’t know how that comes together, but they’ll tell us how to figure that out.”

Arnsdorff said it was the worst he could recall for CRCT math scores statewide. He said the district prides itself on its CRCT figures.

“In fact, our schools sometimes lead the state when they’re compared against other schools,” he said.

He said he does not expect to see that many students would not meet standards again.

“I think we understand where we are now, we understand where the test is and we hope for better results next year,” Arnsdorff said.

Superintendent Randy Shearouse said he was pleased with the results of the remediation.

“I know some of the students only missed a couple problems on the math portion, but for them to come back in just a limited amount of time and quite honestly come around and pass the test says a lot about instruction and pin pointing what those students needed,” he said.

Arnsdorff said the system utilizes the math consultant when questions come up, and administrators discussed developing a strategy to effectively deal with the number of students who needed remediation.

“People have plans in the summer, they have vacations and here is this unexpected blip that occurs and we have this unusual amount of people that we have to provide services to, or if not, then they’re going to be retained,” he said.

“We have to say hats’ off to what (Shearouse) is eluding to. Also, (the) parents rose to the occasion, because if we hadn’t had the chance to get students there, if they hadn’t participated and worked, we wouldn’t have the results that you see here today. As I’ve said, it’s really everyone’s commitment.”

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