Diane Hart, director of Curriculum and Accountability, said, “Cartersville City Middle School made tremendous gains in this area in the spring assessment cycle with more than a two percent increase from FY13 and more than a seven percent gain in eighth-grade mathematics alone. In grades third through fifth, students continue to perform well into the 90 percent category in reading, English, language arts and mathematics. Science continues to improve at Cartersville Elementary, as does social studies, but these are areas of weakness that we will continue to focus our efforts on for next year.
Cartersville Middle School made improvements over last year in several areas. Hart said in eighth-grade mathematics the percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards increased from 87 percent to 95 percent. Also, eighth-grade science students meeting and exceeding standards rose more than 13 percent, moving from 73 percent to 86 percent. Students meeting and exceeding standards increased more than 4 percent in seventh-grade science.
“Additionally, in 14 out of 30 assessment categories more than 50 percent of all students in all grade levels exceeded the standards,” Hart said. “This is a significant fact considering that the level of rigor is expected to increase on the new Georgia assessment being implemented spring of 2015. I believe our students will continue to perform well in comparison to students around the state since they continue to improve in the current assessments’ exceeds categories.”
In preparing for the new testing standards, the school system has made significant changes in both instruction and technology and the current assessment results reflect those changes positively.
Hart said, “One of our principals says that Georgia Milestones Assessment System is very closely aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, it is more rigorous than the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and End of Course Test that it replaces. There are increased expectations, which may produce lower scores than the previous years on our CRCT and EOCT results. It will include open ended questions to better gauge students’ mastery; it will be administered totally online by the fifth year of implementation and this information is consistent with what we have expected for several years now at the district level and at our local schools. Therefore, it should take none of us by surprise.
“It is important to note that Cartersville City Schools will continue to maintain test security and testing policies that are in line with current assessment state rules and regulations. Cartersville City Schools District understands the importance of having a high quality student testing program. Each school test coordinator provides regular training for school test examiners according to the system procedures and the Georgia Department of Education regulations.
“At all times when secure testing materials are not in use for testing, they are stored in a secured, locked room and only school administrators have keyed access. Your school’s principal and school test coordinator carefully monitor all state testing to ensure procedures are followed. The Cartersville City Schools District follows test security guidelines as they are outlined on pages 27 through 47 in the Student Assessment handbook developed by the Division of Assessment and Accountability of the Georgia Department of Education.”
Looking forward, the system is focused on equipping students and faculty with the tools necessary to succeed in the changing landscape of standardized testing.
Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley said, “We are very pleased with our CRCT results particularly the number of students in the exceeding category. I am very proud of our students and our teachers. They worked hard all year and it showed in our results.
Next year the state is moving to an entirely different test. The test is expected to be a lot more difficult. We will be focusing on preparing students for a different format and a requirement in math to show work as opposed to answering a multiple choice question.”
Bartow County School System is still assessing its system-wide performance on the CRCT. Information on the system’s overall testing will be updated as soon as it becomes available.