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CRCT time is here: A+ Strategies to Boost Test Scores

CRCT testing school sleep

In addition to working hard in school, name three ways your child can optimize CRCT scores?

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Eat right
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get active

Before test day, be sure your child gets to bed at a reasonable hour so his mind is well rested and ready to show its stuff. On test mornings, serve a balanced breakfast, including 100% whole grains, giving kids plenty of energy and preventing a blood sugar drop for several hours. Try a piece of 100% whole wheat toast, 1 hardboiled egg, fruit and wash it down with a delicious glass of low-fat milk. Keep young brains well lubricated with plenty of water, before the test and during breaks.

Testing Tip #1
Students who get enough sleep are better able to remember and recall what they’ve learned. Don’t stay up late to cram; it’s better to get your Z’s. Rule of thumb: 7-12 year olds need 10-11 hours/day. 12-18 year olds need 8-9 hours/day.

Testing Tip #2
Get their test day (and every day!) started with the right fuel. It’s a tall order, but try to serve at least three of the four food groups with this meal. Include a variety of foods, like whole grains (bread, brown rice, oatmeal), protein (eggs, lean meat, tofu, nuts, beans), fresh fruits or veggies, and low fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese).

Testing Tip #3
Don’t forget about water! Our brains are more than 85% water, so they need plenty of the wet stuff to work well. Thirsty brains can experience short-term memory loss, trouble focusing and difficulty with math problems. If teacher allows, send your child with a water bottle to keep him energized, alert and focused.

Testing Tip #4
Pack your child a healthy snack. If he’ll be going longer than four hours between meals, a nutritious snack mid-way will help regulate blood sugar, and keep energy level and mental focus high.

Snack suggestions: fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers, mini bagels and cream cheese.

Testing Tip #5
Avoid giving kids simple sugars. Whether you’re sending in snacks for your own little Einstein or the whole class, nix the sugary cereals, toaster pastries, juice, cookies and candy. Sure, they provide an energy burst. But they’re followed by a crash, leaving your kid feeling tired and sluggish – not what they need on test day.

Testing Tip #6
We know being active is good for our muscles and body, but did you know it is also good for your brain? Physical activity is linked to increased concentration and ability to focus and what’s more important than focus on test day? Did you know? Physical activity increases blood flow in your body which means more nutrients and oxygen are traveling to your brain.

Your child has worked hard all year to prepare for the CRCT (and other standardized tests). Now it’s your turn to help him shine by making sure he eats right and sleeps well beforehand. Study hard + eat right + sleep tight = the right equation for testing success!

For more nutrition tips to keep your kids on their game all year long check out Strong4Life at


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CRCT Scores – By School

The Georgia Department of Education released the school-by-school Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores Thursday morning.

Students in third, fifth and eighth grades must pass the reading test to advance to the next grade, and fifth- and eighth-graders must also pass the math portion. Students who fail, however, are given opportunities for re-tests and remediation.

For these three grade levels, Cobb County Schools students in 67 elementary schools and 27 middle schools were tested in reading, English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. In Marietta City Schools, students in eight elementary schools and one middle school, Marietta Middle, were tested.

Students were tested in April and the scores released Thursday morning do not include the re-test scores.

In reviewing the scores, a number of Cobb elementary and middle schools faired well on the reading and math portions of the test, however Riverside Intermediate third-graders and Imagine Mableton eighth-graders noticeably had the smallest percentage of students meet or exceed the standards in these subject areas.

In third-grade reading, 100 percent of the students tested in nine elementary schools met or exceeded the standards. These schools are Tritt, Keheley, Shallowford Falls, Ford, Davis, Nicholson, Timber Ridge, Brown and Due West.

The schools that did the worst were Riverside Intermediate, where 75 percent of students met or exceeded the standards, and Norton Park, where 81 percent of students met or exceeded the standards.

There weren’t any schools in Cobb where 100 percent of students met or exceeded the standards in math but Due West and Tritt elementary schools, both with 99 percent, did the best and Compton Elementary with 62 percent and Riverside Intermediate with 64 percent had the least number of students meet that goal.

Fifth-grade students at Tritt, Garrison, Keheley, Ford, Kennesaw Charter, Rocky Mount, Davis, Timber Ridge and Due West elementary schools are where 100 percent of the students tested met or exceeded the goals.

The fifth-graders who had the least percentage of students meet or exceed the standards were at Sanders Elementary with 78 percent and Brumby Elementary with 82 percent of students performing well.

In math, only the fifth-graders at Rocky Mount met or exceeded the standards by 100 percent, followed closely behind by Ford Elementary with 99 percent.

The schools that performed the worst were Sky View Elementary, which had 73 percent meet or exceed the standards, and Brumby Elementary with 74 percent. Due to the south Cobb redistricting, Sky View closed in May.

In eighth grade, three middle schools met or exceeded the standards by 100 percent in reading. These schools were Mabry, Dickerson and Hightower Trail. The schools that had the lowest percentage of students meet this goal were Imagine Mableton with 91 percent and Lindley and Smitha middle schools, both with 94 percent.

For math, the largest percentage of eight grade students to meet or exceed the standards were tested at Dickerson with 98 percent and Mabry with 97 percent. The two schools that had the fewest number meet that goal were students at Imagine Mableton with 40 percent and Garrett Middle with 60 percent.

For Marietta City Schools, Marietta Center for Advanced Academics (MCAA) third-and fifth-graders had the largest percentage of students meet or exceed the standards by 100 percent in all five subject areas, compared to Park Street Elementary, whose third-graders had the smallest percentage of students do so.

For third grade, MCAA students who took the reading test met or exceeded the standards by 100 percent, followed by Burruss Elementary with 94 percent.

The two schools that had the least number meet or exceed the standards were Park Street with 81 percent and Sawyer Road with 84 percent.

In math, the schools that performed the best in third grade were MCAA with 99 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standard and Burruss Elementary with 97 percent. The schools that had the least percentage of students meet or exceed the standards were Park Street Elementary with 74 percent and Lockheed Elementary with 76 percent.

In the fifth grade, 100 percent of students at MCAA met or exceeded the standard in reading and West Side Elementary had 97 percent. The schools that had the fewest percentage of students meet the goal were fifth-graders at Park Street with 85 percent and Hickory Hills with 92 percent.

For the math portion of the test, fifth-graders at MCAA performed the best with 98 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standards followed by West Side Elementary with 95 percent.

At Marietta Middle School, 96 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded the standard in reading and 73 percent met that goal in math.
(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, July 12, 2012. Written by Lindsay Field. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – CRCT Scores By School)

Atlanta Public School Educators Caught Cheating to Improve Student Test Scores

Teachers, school administrators and principals were directly involved with various efforts – including outright cheating and changing student answers – to increase the Atlanta school systems student performance scores. Some even held “erasure parties” on weekends to change answers.

This is totally unbelievable even for someone who thinks the government should be completely out of the education business. From WSBTV in Atlanta, with my emphasis in bold.

The report stated that children were denied special-educational assistance because their falsely reported CRCT scores were too high, and during testing, teachers pointed to the correct answer while standing at students’ desks.

According to the report, Parks Middle School had the most educators accused of cheating under the direction of then-principal Christopher Waller.

Investigators who led the probe were appointed by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. They found cheating in 44 of 56 schools they examined.

Deal said investigators also found that 178 teachers and principals cheated, and 82 of those confessed to misconduct.

The superintendent of the Atlanta school system, Dr. Beverly Hall, left her position at the end of June, but during the last decade she was heralded as a savior of the public school system and received – get this – an average yearly bonus of $58,000 a year. In 10 years she raked in almost $600,000 in bonuses based supposedly on higher graduation rates and better student performance.

It looks like it was a huge government-funded and endorsed scam as an indirect result of the federal government’s No Child Left Behind education legislation introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and then-President George W. Bush. Atlanta’s first test results were abysmal and instead of fixing the issue and improving performance and scores, a good portion of the public education system’s leadership and line staff elected to cheat the system and screw the kids.

It is clearly not “about the children” for these despicable self-described educators.

Parents of the children who have been totally left behind are rightfully ticked-off. Many families even made important decisions based on test scores released yearly by the public school system. Families moved. Families purchased homes. All partly based on the falsified data released by the Atlanta school system concerning student performance and test scores.

Marsha Sims said when it was time to find a neighborhood with a good school for her triplets, she jumped through all the hoops, including poring over the test scores, before settling on Morris Brandon in northwest Atlanta.

Many families buy homes near Morris Brandon just so they can send their children to the school.

“I was comparing them. And to find out now that those test scores were possibly not correct, then how can you choose what school your child attends if they’re not correct?” Sims said.

When Sims saw the news that the long-awaited investigation of alleged cheating in Atlanta Public Schools was out, Sims said it was sickening.

“I was extremely upset. I mean extremely,” she said.

Valerie Irvin, whose son attends Best Academy, told Dore, “A lot of people need to be arrested.” “Not fines. I think people need to go to jail. I think people need some pain for what they’ve done to these poor kids and parents who think they’ve done well on their test scores,” said Irvin.

Sims also had harsh words for those involved.

“If they knew about it, or if they covered it up, they need to be held accountable,” Sims said. “They clearly did not do their job and they abused their power.”

The news story includes the full three part report (links to sections are here) including hundreds of pages. It seems like the next steps should be indictments, criminal trials and jail time for those involved. The reports overview notes …

Thousands of school children were harmed by widespread cheating in the Atlanta Public School System (APS). In 30 schools, educations confessed to cheating, We found cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in 44 of the 56 schools (78.6%) we examined, and uncovered organized and systemic misconduct within the district as far back as 2001. Superintendent Beverly Hall and her senior staff knew, or should have known, that cheating and other offenses were occurring. Many of the accolades, and much of the praise, received by APS over the last decade were ill-gotten.

A culture of fear and conspiracy of silence infected this school system, and kept many teachers from speaking freely about misconduct. From the onset of this investigation, we were confronted by a pattern of interference by top APS leadership in our attempt to gather evidence. …

The APS General Councel told us that one of her main duties was to provide [Hall] with “deniability.” Her aim was to insulate Dr. Hall from teh burden of responsibility for making difficult decisions. This veil of deniability at the school level was aptly illustrated by long-time Gideons Elementary principal Armstead Salters, who told his teachers: “If anyone asks you anything about this, just tell them you don’t know … just stick to the story and it will go away.”

Here is just some of the information outlined in the report concerning cheating and other issues.

Teachers and administrators erased students’ incorrect answers after the test was given and filled in the correct answers;
The changing of answers by teachers and administrators was, in some cases, so sophisticated that plastic transparency answer sheets were created to make changing the test answer sheets easier;
Changing of answers was often done at weekend gatherings, and in at least one instance at a teacher’s home in Douglas County, Georgia;
A principal forced a teacher with low CRCT scores to crawl under a table at a faculty meeting;
Teachers arranged classroom seating for tests so that lower performing children could cheat off the higher scoring students;
Children were denied special educational assistance because their falsely-reported CRCT scores were too high;
Students requested that they be assigned to a certain teacher because that educator was said to cheat;
First and second grade teachers used voice inflection while reading the test to identify the answer;
Teachers pointed to the correct answer while standing at the student’s desk;
Teachers gave the answers aloud to students;
Some teachers allowed students to change the previous day’s incorrect responses after fixing them correct answers;
Teachers looked ahead to discuss the next day’s questions;
In one classroom a student sat under his desk and refused to take the test. The child passed.
Information about the testing…

The CRCT is a multiple choice examination given annually to all public school students in Georgia. There are five subject areas that are tested: reading; English/language arts; math; social studies and science. Students are scored as “meets standards,” “exceeds standards” or “does not meet standards.” The CRCT is considered and important test because its results help determine whether a school makes “Annually Yearly Progress” (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

(Reprinted from

Cobb Spring Break is Next Week

Reminder: Spring Break is April 4-8! No School!

To East Cobbers with school-age kids: Enjoy your time off! Also, don’t forget that CRCT Testing will begin for grades 3, 4 and 5 on April 12. Testing will occur each day, beginning at 7:50am through April 18.