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Eighth-graders show
improvement in math scores

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Education officials are reporting improvement in the state's standardized exam scores.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, eighth-graders statewide exceeded state standards in math this year, at 8 percent over last year.

About 23 percent of the state's eighth-graders exceeded math standards on the 2009 Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). Another 47 percent, the same as last year, met state standards in math.

The results, however, are modest when compared to exam results that pre-date the new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) curriculum, on which the past two CRCT exams were based.

On the 2008 CRCT, only 62 percent of eighth-graders statewide met state standards in math, compared to 81 percent in 2007.

School officials said the differences in year-to-year performance were likely due to the revised CRCT of 2008, which included the tougher GPS standards.

Over the past year, however, eighth-graders have shown improvement, passing at the rate of 70 percent in math on the 2009 CRCT.

"Our new grade eight math curriculum is very rigorous, but our teachers and students are embracing the rigor and are making tremendous progress," said Kathy Cox, state superintendent of schools.

Cox said this year's preliminary outlook is an improvement over 2008.

"The 2009 CRCT results are very encouraging and show that our students are learning more advanced concepts and are able to apply that knowledge properly," she said. "Our elementary and middle school teachers should feel very proud today - they are getting the job done."