In comparing individual schools’ standardized-test scores in the Liberty County School System, most students scored lower in math and science than they did in reading and language arts. However, LCSS students’ scores beat the state average in most subjects, except in math, according to recently released test scores.
The Georgia Department of Education released the 2013 Criterion Referenced Competency Test scores for each individual public school earlier this month. State- and district-wide scores were released in June.
Students in third and fifth grades in Liberty County’s elementary schools — including the now closed Jordye Bacon Elementary — and eighth-graders in the county’s three middle schools had fewer students meet or exceed the standard in math and science than in reading and language arts. In addition, fewer eighth-graders met or exceeded the social-studies standard than compared to other subjects.
“The CRCT math scores are lower in all systems across Georgia,” said Dr. Debbie Rodriguez, interim assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “Georgia implemented the new Common Core Standards in 2012, which are very rigorous and require application to real world learning. The nation recognizes that student scores are lower in math and science.”
The new Common Core curriculum, “encourages students to reason mathematically, to evaluate mathematical arguments both formally and informally, to use the language of mathematics to communicate ideas and information precisely, and to make connections among mathematical topics and to other disciplines,” according to doe.k12.ga.us.com.
The more rigorous math curriculum feeds into the science, technology, engineering and math movement, Rodriguez said. The purpose of STEM is to better prepare students for competitive careers in these burgeoning fields.
“The economy is creating over 100,000 new jobs a year in math, science, and technology,” Rodriguez said. “At the present time, colleges are only producing around 40,000 students for these jobs. The goal is for Georgia schools to get students ready for a college and a career. In previous years, we have taught low level math skills. The new Common Core standards are rigorous and require students to think at a much higher level. Instead of adding two plus two, students are asked to show a model and explain why two plus two equals four.”
She added that LCSS educators will continue honing their skills and formally will meet to share proven and innovative ways to help struggling students.
“We plan to provide research-based, professional learning opportunities that include the implementation of technology to teachers,” Rodriguez said. “We plan to provide time for principals to meet in professional learning communities so they can share ideas of what is working so that all students can be successful. Teachers also meet in weekly professional learning communities to plan lessons and discuss best practices in the classroom.”
For the 2012-13 school year, Waldo Pafford Elementary School had the most third-graders in the system meet or exceed the standard in both reading and math, with a 96.7 score in reading and an 89.1 score in math. Liberty Elementary School third-graders had the lowest reading score compared with their peers, an 85.8. In math, Button Gwinnett’s third-graders scored the lowest, a 70.1.
Joseph Martin Elementary School’s fifth-graders scored the highest among their peers, a 96.7, for meeting or exceeding the standard in reading, while Jordye Bacon’s fifth-graders had the lowest score, 91.4. In science, 60.6 percent of Jordye Bacon’s fifth-graders met or exceeded the standard, the lowest compared to other fifth-graders in the system. Taylors Creek’s fifth-graders had the highest score in science with 89 percent meeting or exceeding the standard.
Among the system’s three middle schools, Snelson-Golden’s eighth-graders scored highest in reading, with 97.9 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standard compared with their peers. Lewis Frasier’s eighth-graders followed close behind, with 97.6 percent. And 96.8 percent of Midway Middle’s eighth-graders met or exceeded the reading standard. In social studies, 81.9 percent of Lewis Frasier’s eighth-graders met or exceeded the standard. More than 76 percent of Midway Middle’s eighth-graders met or exceeded the standard, and 62.3 percent of Snelson-Golden’s eighth-graders met or exceeded the standard compared with their peers.