The year has been tumultuous for the Fayette County school system, but recent test results show that classroom performance remains strong for the county, and consumer advocacy website NerdWallet has rated Peachtree City and Fayetteville each in the top ten best Georgia cities to raise a family partly due to solid test scores.
Nerdwallet compared the test scores of various cities to the state average to establish a 1 to 10 rating. Peachtree City earned a perfect ten for its rankings and the number two slot in the state, while Fayetteville earned a nine and was ranked the tenth best Georgia city to raise a family. Nerdwallet also looked at home values, ongoing cost of homeownership, average income and economic growth in compiling its rankings.
Results from both the End of Course Test (EOCT) and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs) showed improvement and continued to show Fayette among the highest scoring districts in the state.
Melinda Berry-Dreisbach is in charge of Public Relations for the school board and offered the following summary of the results:
Student performance is up on nearly every 2013 End of Course Test (EOCT) with the majority of students meeting or exceeding standards based on data released by the Georgia Department of Education.
Student pass rates climbed in United States History, Biology, American Literature and Composition, and Ninth Grade Literature and Composition. A small dip in pass rates occurred in Economics and Mathematics II, a two-point drop in both subjects.
The greatest gains were in United States History where the mean score (453) jumped 11 points from last year’s score of 442, and in Biology where the mean score (451) is up six points from last year’s score of 445.
In Coordinate Algebra, which was offered for the first time last fall, the county’s mean score is 411 with 63 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standard. This was the first administration of the test since the subject was implemented.
Fayette’s scores outperformed the state in all subject areas by 13 to 24 points. The largest gap is in Mathematics II (24 points) where Fayette’s mean score is 431 compared to the state’s 407, and in Ninth Grade Literature and Composition (21 points) where Fayette’s score is 458 compared to the state’s 437. The county also outperformed the state by 20 points in Coordinate Algebra, Biology and United States History.
In April 2011, the Georgia Board of Education approved a plan to phase out Georgia High School Graduation Tests, beginning with students who entered ninth grade for the first time in the 2011-12 school year. For these students, the EOCT counts as 20 percent of the student’s final grade, an increase from the previous 15 percent level.
As for CRCT scores, Berry-Dreisbach said Fayette's scores remain at the "top of the pack" in Georgia:
Compared to other system scores released by the Georgia Department of Education, the county’s elementary and middle school students posted high pass rate percentages for meeting or exceeding standards in all subject areas tested in grades 3-8. Only Forsyth County and a few smaller systems posted higher pass rate percentages in some content areas.
State law requires that students in grades 3, 5 and 8 meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in reading in order to be promoted. Fifth and 8th grade students must also meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in mathematics.
Fourth grade showed the largest improvement, posting higher meeting or exceeding percentages compared to 2012. Reading increased by 1.1 percent, math by 3.6 percent, science by 1.9 percent and social studies by 2.5 percent. Mathematics had a small decrease of .1 percent.
Sixth grade scores increased in three of the five content areas compared to 2012. Mathematics increased 1.8 percent, science 1.9 percent and social studies 1.5 percent.
Seventh grade scores also increased in three of the five subject areas compared to 2012. Reading increased .3 percent, science .4 percent and social studies 4.2 percent.
In critical grades 3, 5 and 8 where scores in reading and/or mathematics are used for promotion to the next grade level, third grade had a .4 percent increase in social studies compared to 2012, fifth grade posted a 1.5 percent increase in mathematics and a .4 percent increase in social studies compared to 2012. Eighth grade mathematics increased 1.8 percent compared to 2012.
On behalf of the school system, Berry-Dreisbach thanked teachers and students "for their hard work" and said the system will "continue to address areas of improvement."