Next week, Liberty County School System students in third- through eighth-grades will take the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, which measure how well students have acquired necessary skills and knowledge as described in the Georgia Performance Standards.
The test will be administered for three hours each day next week. Makeup tests will be given April 18-19. Because of a funding shortage, first- and second-graders won’t be tested this spring, according to the Georgia Department of Education website.
The test was implemented in 2000 by the Georgia Department of Education as an end-of-the-year assessment to measure skills in reading, mathematics and English/language arts areas. The test also measures students’ mastery of science and social studies.
“Assessment is an important part of the teaching and learning process,” Taylors Creek Elementary Principal Debbie Rodriguez said. “Testing is how we know whether students are mastering the curriculum. The CRCT is based solely on the state curriculum, so students are only tested on what is taught in Georgia schools that year.”
Teachers throughout the county have prepared students all year by providing a variety of practice tests to mark students’ progress before the state-mandated exam.
“Good, focused teaching is provided each day. The teachers work really hard to make sure students meet each of the standards,” Rodriguez said. “TCE administrators help prepare students in grades three through five for the CRCT by visiting each classroom for a motivational test talk.”
Rodriguez said the overall goal is for each student to exceed the passing score of 800 for the test.
Students at Joseph Martin Elementary had a celebratory CRCT rally Wednesday, which was designed to help them relax before the test next week, curriculum coordinator Meshialene Morris said.
The school invited motivational speaker and former Harlem Globetrotter player Melvin Adams to the school to inspire students with a pep talk.
The young music group, Bout That Dough from Savannah, also performed a few original songs written to reflect the importance of studying and taking the CRCT seriously.
“It was pretty fun,” fourth-grader Robert Martin said of the rally.
Martin said he recognizes that although fun activities were planned prior to the test, the assessment is serious business.
“We need to study for it, and all … it decides if we’re going to fifth grade or not. It’s not a joke,” the 10-year-old said. “Most of the kids really listen well and get into it, and I think those are the kids who are going to pass. It won’t be the hardest test ever. The one for fifth grade will be harder.”
Morris also has been announcing test tips over the loud speaker every morning to remind students of the importance of the test and to bring the tips, resources and study guides home to get thorough practice.
“My advice to parents would be to make sure their students are prepared, encourage them and let them know that’s OK if they make a mistake and don’t dwell on it and complete the test,” Morris said.
Test results are expected to be back before students start summer break.