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Test scores getting top marks
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As a whole, the Effingham County School System saw gains as scores came in for the Grade 5 Writing Assessment and the Georgia High School Graduation Test, as well as unofficial scores the Georgia Criterion Reference Competency Test.

“We’ve gone through a number of years here where we’ve had less resources than we might ought to have at any one time,” Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff told school board members at their June 1 meeting. “We’ve had less instructional days than we’ve had ever before even though it’s a couple of days.

“…I think you’ll see our schools did quite well in keeping their eye on the ball and improving their performance over the previous administration.”

In the CRCT, initial results show that Effingham County Middle School saw increases in the percent of students meeting or exceeding the standards in every content area and in each grade level. Some saw jumps of more than 20 points, such as sixth grade social studies from 29 percent in 2010 to 75 this year, and eighth grade social studies increased from 56 to 80 percent meeting or exceeding standards.

ECMS did not meet its Adequate Yearly Progress last year in academic performance of students with disabilities, although all other groups and subgroups passed. CRCT scores play a role in AYP assessment.

Both Ebenezer and South Effingham saw mostly gains, with neither seeing the percent of students meeting or exceeding in any grade or subject dip below 84.

Elementary school CRCT unofficial scores were equally positive. At South Effingham Elementary School, 100 percent of students in third, fourth and fifth grade met or exceeded standards in math. And in fifth grade at SEES, 100 percent of students also beat the standards in reading and English/language arts.

Marlow Elementary scores increased in each of the grades tested and in each content area, including 100 percent meeting or exceeding in fifth grade ELA.

Losses were felt at Sand Hill Elementary and Springfield Elementary in fifth grade math, science and social studies. Ebenezer Elementary saw slight decreases in third grade math, science and social studies.

“We hope that when we look at the state reports that we’re going to see favorable comparisons as we draw conclusions as to how the district fit in comparison to other districts in the state,” Arnsdorff said.

In the Grade 5 Writing Assessment, the system saw a 2 percent increase in students meeting and exceeding the standards. SES had 18 percent of their fifth grades exceed standards.

Compared to the state, Effingham had 74 percent meet standards versus 69 in the state, but the state saw an average of 10 percent fifth graders exceeding, compared to the system’s 7 percent average.

In the GHSGT, first time 11th grade test takers saw increases in pass rates from the previous test administration of 4 percent in science and 2 percent in social studies. Language arts 2 percent at 90 for all students and 1 percent for regular education students at 94 passing. Math, in the first administration of the Georgia Performance Standards version of the test, saw an 8 percent drop from last year.

“This year was the first year, and you always hear the disclaimer that anytime we move to a new version of a test, we usually see a dip,” said Arnsdorff. “Well, our dip wasn’t so bad in that we had an 86 percent pass rate. It was 8 percent lower than our previous assessment, but I don’t think you can really make a comparison.”

These GHSGT scores will be assessed strictly for data, as the test is no longer used to determine whether a student graduates or not.