School systems turn to CRCT retesting

By Greg Gelpi

Although the Henry and Clayton County school systems are awaiting the breakdown of state test results, they are gearing up for retesting of students.

Both counties received the names of third-grade students who failed the reading portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

This year third-graders, who do not pass the reading portion of the CRCT, might not advance to the fourth grade.

Artansa Snell, the chairwoman of the Clayton County chapter of the NAACP, said she is concerned with the test scores.

Snell wants school officials to look at this year's scores and compare them to previous years.

"I want to actively demonstrate that parents are concerned," she said. "We want an answer to what they're going to do about it. (Clayton school officials) just put Band-Aids on things."

Those students who failed are invited to take three weeks of summer school enrichment. At the end of the three weeks, both school systems will offer retesting of third-graders.

Students who pass the test will advance to fourth grade. Those who do not pass can appeal the test results to a committee of school officials.

The Henry summer school will be from June 7 to June 23 with students retaking the test on June 23. Make-up tests will be administered June 24.

Clayton County schools will hold summer school from June 7 to June 25. CRCT retesting will be June 25.

Test results for both school systems are expected back in mid-July.

Clayton County had 531 of its 3,962 third-graders not pass the reading portion and has 640 enrolled in third grade summer school.

The summer school programs are free in both counties and are limited to students in the respective school system.

Henry school officials are pleased with their performance, exceeding even their own expectations.

"We found that we were very happy with (the results)," said Greg Fields, the Henry County schools assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Fields said he expected 90 percent of Henry third-graders to pass the reading portion of the test, but results showed that 94.2 percent passed. Of the 2,224 Henry third-graders who took the test, 131 didn't meet the required standards.

Letters have already been sent to parents of third-graders who failed the reading portion, Fields said.

"Clearly, the goal is to achieve 100 percent success," he said. "Our teachers have been working diligently for years now."

He attributed Henry's success to the work of everyone in the school system.

Henry and Clayton counties are still waiting for the disaggregated data from the test results. The new data will divide the results into subgroups, such as race and economic groups.

Fields said that data will "without a doubt" be used for future planning once school officials identify trouble areas and patterns.

For more information on the CRCT, visit the state Department of Education at www.doe.k12.ga.us.