By Clay Wilson
Henry County educators have received systemwide results from the spring administration of the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). And while system officials have yet to study a detailed breakdown of the scores, one says a first glance reveals good news.
"I'm very pleased, said Bill Shearer, Henry County Schools' assistant superintendent for school operations and improvement.
The results for the first-through-eighth grade standardized tests, recently released by the state Department of Education, show Henry County students outscoring the state average at all grade levels. The only exceptions are seventh and eighth grade mathematics, in which the system's average tied the state's.
Shearer, however, was more pleased with the percentages presented by the state's report. He said that more than 90 percent of the students in first, second, third, seventh and eighth grades met or exceeded state standards on the reading portion of the test.
He pointed out that this meets the system's own goal for CRCT achievement.
In mathematics, more than 90 percent of first, second and third graders met or exceeded state standards.
In grades one, two, six and eight, more than 50 percent of the students exceeded the state reading standards. "We're very proud of that," Shearer said.
While none of the grade levels passed the 50 percent exceeding standards mark in mathematics, Shearer noted, "You can look at the statewide data, and in almost every situation math scores are higher."
Still, he said, "Certainly we'll never be totally happy until we meet all our goals. We will continue to identify where the problems are and address them at the system level and, more importantly, at the classroom level."
Much of the task of identifying where the problems are and determining how to address them will fall to the system's Curriculum and Instruction Department. The head of that department, though, said that he and his staff have been too busy preparing for the upcoming year to examine the CRCT scores closely yet.
Greg Fields, the system's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, spent much of the past week teaching a class in the Teacher Induction Program. The Curriculum Department's staff has been busy preparing for the upcoming back-to-school orientation workshops for teachers.
"We just haven't had an opportunity to sit down and really, really scrutinize that (CRCT) data," he said.
Fields said he expects that within the next few weeks, he and system Coordinator of Testing Kathy Wilson will analyze the results. He said he hopes to present this information to the county board of education at its next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 4.
One county parent said that CRCT scores can be a good indicator of how well a school is preparing its students to advance.
Robin Newsome, who has a second grader at Unity Grove Elementary School, said she hasn't seen her daughter's individual results on the test yet. However, she said that judging by the school's scores, "I am assuming she did very well.
"I feel pretty sure that the school is doing what it needs to do to keep the kids at the level they need to be or above," she said.