Also, after its inaugural year, Cherokee Charter Academy showed competitive scores relative to district schools that are similar in demographics.
Overall, both CCSD and Cherokee Charter Academy outperformed many of their peers across the state.
Cherokee County students also beat the state average passing rate in all subjects.
The CRCT, which is used to assess the Georgia Performance Standards, is administered to students in third through eighth grades in the subjects of reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The scores are reported as percentages of students who exceed, meet or do not meet standards.
“We are proud of our students and teachers for their progress and success on these challenging tests, and are determined to provide all of the support they need to chart a path to even greater heights,” Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo said in a release Thursday.
Principal Vanessa Suarez also said she was pleased to see students at Cherokee Charter Academy do extremely well in their first year taking the test at the school.
“I really want all the credit to go to the teachers and the students,” Suarez said Thursday. “I think we did fantastic. Our CRCT scores are a true reflection of hard work and dedication of both the students and the teachers.”
Students advance to the next grade based on passage of third-, fifth- and eighth-grade reading tests and fifth- and eighth-grade mathematics tests.
Overall, 96 percent of district students participating in the third-grade reading test passed on the first administration.
For fifth grade, 96 percent of CCSD students passed the reading test and 88 percent passed the math test. Eighth-grade test results showed 99 percent passed the reading test and 89 percent passed the math test.
All CCSD schools saw gains in the percentage of students who scored in the meets or exceeds standards level.
Several schools also saw a significant shift in points from not meeting standards to passing the test, including Hickory Flat, Knox, Freedom, Macedonia and Hasty elementary schools.
The district saw the greatest gains in eighth-grade social studies and science, where percentages increased four and five points respectively.
However, mirroring statewide results this year, fifth-grade math dropped four points from 92 percent to 88 percent—the same level seen in 2009 and 2010.
“It should be noted that CCSD students continued to achieve success despite increasing challenges: diminishing state and local funding for education and climbing student enrollment, which have led to larger class sizes, and changing demographics,” Petruzielo said in the release Thursday. “It should also be noted that the percentage of CCSD students who receive free or reduced-price lunch has increased from 19 percent in 2004 to 31 percent today.”
The results released Thursday do not reflect the second administration of the test held the last week of school for students who did not pass the first assessment, as those results have not yet been released by the state. Suarez said the results released at Wednesday’s Local Governing Council meeting included students who took retakes.
This is the first year CRCT results won’t be used to determine the district’s adequate yearly progress as mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which Georgia obtained a waiver from this year.
“While the state’s approved waiver has resulted in the federal government finally freeing our schools and students from the unfair labels associated with the No Child Left Behind Act, the GCRCT continues to provide our educators with a statewide benchmark to track student learning,” Petruzielo said in the release.
Cherokee Charter Academy third-graders taking the test saw a 96 percent pass rate. For its fifth-grade students, 94 percent passed the reading test and 82 percent passed the math test. The school did not have an eighth-grade class this year.
Cherokee Charter Academy saw its highest scores in seventh-grade language arts with a 100 percent passing rate and sixth-grade reading at 99 percent. The lowest scores were seen at 82 percent for fifth-grade math and sixth-grade social studies.
Suarez said teachers at the school will focus next year on bringing up math scores in all grades and make sure writing scores, which were released last month, go up as well.