Troup County School System officials said that targeted learning and planning helped play a role in Troup County schools’ recent Criterion Reference Competency Test, or CRCT, scores again improving.
The results, released Thursday, show Troup County students outscored or equaled the state in 24 of the 30 tested areas. It’s the third straight year Troup schools have shown gains in the majority of testing categories.
Trends show more students are meeting or exceeding the state average and fewer are failing to meet standards, said Melanie Traylor, school improvement specialist and assessment coordinator, at Monday’s Board of Education caucus meeting. The system still has the biggest challenge with eighth-grade students, which have more students that have failed to meet standards than other grades, but still have shown steady improvement year to year.
“Granted, there’s still more red than we would like to see,” Traylor said, referring to a graph that showed failing students in red and passing students in green. “But the trend is going in the right direction.”
Traylor said CRCT scores for more 5,300 Troup County students in third through eighth grades show that:
•Five of the six grades outscored or equaled the state in reading, English/language arts, math and social studies.
•Ninety percent or more of students in five out of six grades – third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth – met or exceeded CRCT reading standards. In fourth grade, 89 percent of students met or exceeded standards.
•Fifty two percent of third grade students exceeded reading standards.
•Students in third and fifth grade outscored or equaled the state in all testing categories.
•Students in sixth grade gained 13 percentage points in mathematics compared to a 4 percentage point gain at the state level.
•Eighth graders gained 9 percentage points in science and 8 percentage points in social studies, while the state increased 7 and 4 percentage points, respectively.
•Since 2007, Troup County students in third, fifth and eighth grades have made greater gains in reading than the state.
•Since the Georgia Performance Standards mathematics implementation in 2008, Troup County students have made greater gains than the state. Most significantly, Troup County eighth graders have made a 23 percentage point gain, compared to the state’s gain of 15 percentage points.
•A three-year trend shows gains in nearly all testing categories for all grade levels.
•In general, more students are exceeding standards and fewer are not meeting standards.
•The percentage of third graders exceeding standards is greater than the state in all areas.
•In third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth grades, a higher percentage of students exceeded the standards in social studies as compared to the state. This percentage is significantly greater in fourth, fifth and sixth grades, ranging from 5 to 8 percentage points.
Traylor added that comparisons to other counties that have the same poverty level as Troup, but varying in poluation, show Troup County scored in the top of its poverty-level peer group. A comparison of scores in a surrounding 10-county area – Liberty, Chatham, Spalding, Clarke, Clayton, Muscogee, DeKalb, Richmond, Dougherty and Bibb – published by a Columbus newspaper showed Troup ranked first or second in all categories and was on top in overall scores.
Karen Cagle, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said that data examination has provided teachers and school administrators with detailed enough information to target down to individual students to help enforce study areas that have been problems for them in past tests. Also using that data helps administrators develop professional learning and strategic plans to help target certain demographics, including trends among racial and economic groups.
Cagle said the school system also has invested more in technology, mostly through federal Title 1 funds, which has helped with targeted learning. Also, Cagle credited sixth grade learning coach Gail Sherman with working with teachers to help identify areas that need to be improved.
The biggest credit goes to faculty and school staff, Cagle said.
“Even with budget cuts, they keep plugging and plugging and plugging,” she said.
Added Board of Education member Debbie Burdette: “A special kudos to the teachers. They’re the ones that make this happen.”