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System beating state average on test scores
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Test results are in from the 2009-2010 school year, and in general Effingham County continues to trend upward and outperform the state.
For the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, first-fifth grade students in the system had a higher percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards across all five grade levels and in all of the 21 content areas covered. Fourteen of those areas showed improvement from the year before, with two areas matching their previous scores and the rest still with 90 percent or more students meeting or exceeding standards.
Of the 15 content areas for the middle grades, CRCT scores were higher in 10 of them than the year before. Scores were lower in three areas, and two were newly recorded. The only area that Effingham school system did not overcome state averages was in sixth grade social studies, which tied the state at 64 percent meeting or exceeding.
“The Effingham County school district continues to perform better than average and certainly better than the state’s performance in grades 1-8 on the CRCT,” said Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff.
Arnsdorff also reported that of the 182 school districts that reported spring scores, elementary scores ranked in the top 50 districts in the state in 14 of the 21 content areas.
“So I think we had a very strong showing in comparison to the other school districts in our state across the board, regardless of wealth and regardless of size,” he said.
For grades 6-8. Effingham was in the top 50 districts in nine of the 14 content areas tested.
End of Course Tests in the high schools echoed middle and elementary pass rate improvements in most subjects. Strong suits between both high schools include ninth and 11th grade English and physical science, with 85, 93 and 83 percent of students passing those test respectively. U.S. history, economics and biology also improved, with more than 70 percent passing each area.
In math, tests for algebra and geometry have been phasing out to become Math I, Math II and Math III. The geometry exam was given for the last time this past spring 
Scores in Math I and II were 73 and 68 percent passing respectively. This was the first school year these scores were recorded.
“So, our usual attack will go forward to look at how we can better focus and better support students, particularly those who are in need of assistance,” Arnsdorff said.
Although state averages have not been officially released, results from both the fall and spring administrations of the tests suggest that Effingham County pass rates will be higher than the state’s.
“I don’t want you to think that’s the only thing we live by is just doing better than the state,” Arnsdorff told Effingham school board members. “We want to provide our students the best instruction. But it does give us a gauge about what’s going on in 180 school districts around the state that are continuing with some of the same challenges that we are.”