In two recent test score reports, middle school students showed significant gains in mathematics.
Polk County’s sixth and eighth grade students surpassed Georgia’s average Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) math scores by eight points combined.
And for the second year in a row at Cedartown Middle School, every student passed their Algebra I End of Course Testing (EOCT) exams. This year, the news was a little sweeter, as all students not only passed their Algebra I EOCT, but exceeded the state’s average score.
Though students participating in both standardized tests showed large increases in scoring percentages when compared on a year-to-year basis, most schools fell slightly behind statewide scores.
The CRCT scores for Polk’s fourth, sixth and eighth students showed increases in the testing areas of reading, English/language arts and math.
Compared to scores in 2000, fourth graders made a large gain in reading scores, from 69 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards, to 83 percent this year. Though it’s a tremendous 14-point gain for the system, fourth graders missed the state average for reading by four points.
And in math, fourth graders jumped 17 points to 69 percent, but still missed the state average by six points. “Clearly, 69 percent is not where we want to be, but we’ve gained so much already. There’s room for improvement, but we’re also proud of the progress,” said Laurie Atkins, curriculum director for Polk County Schools.
Fourth graders also increased their English/language arts comprehension from 68 percent in 2000, to 77 percent this year.
For sixth and eighth graders, Atkins said the gap is really starting to close.
In reading, sixth graders scored 81 percent - just three points short of the state average, but an eight point increase over the last five years. They showed a 15-point increase in English/language arts skills, and only missed the state average by two points. In math, the news was far better, as sixth graders surpassed the state average by four points.
For eighth graders, their reading scores climbed only one point since 2000, and fell short of the state average by five points. English/language arts showed a nine-point increase since 2000, but also missed the state mark by seven points. In math, scores blew past the state average of 68 percent, with eighth graders scoring 73 percent.
End of Course Testing, involving high school and middle school students, significant gains were made in U.S. History and Biology.
“At Rockmart High School, the 29-point increase in U.S. History over last year’s scores were phenomenal,” said Atkins. “And Cedartown High’s increase in Biology from 67 percent to 96 percent is also really impressive.”
Rockmart High School also had a large gain in American Literature, from 72 percent to 98 percent.
In all, Cedartown High had a 21 percent gain in Algebra I, a 17 percent gain in Geometry, a 29 percent gain in Biology and a 14 percent gain in U.S. History.
Rockmart High School had a 26 percent gain in American Literature, 19 percent in Physical Science and 29 percent in U.S. History.
Even with both schools’ impressive gains in History, the system missed the state average by seven points.
Two other subject areas, economics and geometry, also fell
below the state average.
The Polk School system scored 30 percent on the economics section, while the state average is 59 percent, and in geometry, Polk students scored 61 percent, missing the state mark by four points.
In Polk’s two middle schools, only the algebra portion of the EOCT are given.
At Cedartown Middle, all students meet state requirements, and they also exceeded the state’s average. At Elm Street Middle, students showed an eight-percent increase in algebra scores.