VALDOSTA -- Three Lowndes County School System third-graders were retained due to their performance on the Reading Criterion Referenced Competency Test.

Superintendent Steve Smith said two of those did not attend summer school or take the test a second time. He said parents of the third child, who is not fluent in the English language, chose not to appeal the retention decision, even though the child did attend summer school and make a second attempt at passing the test.

"They wanted the child to remain in the third grade until he learned the information," Smith said.

Two of those were special education students. One was a regular education student.

Of the system's 680 third-graders, only 15 failed to achieve grade level scores on the spring 2004 administration of the Reading CRCT. Of those, eight were receiving special education services.

Smith said a total of 13 of those third graders chose to attend summer school and retake the Reading CRCT at the end of the intense academic session. He said supplemental services, including tutoring, will be offered to those retained to accelerate their academic growth and to those promoted to ensure they remain at grade level.

In the Valdosta City School System, 23 third-graders either chose not to attend summer school or did and failed the Reading CRCT for a second time.

Superintendent Sam Allen said the academic fate of those students is under review by a committee comprised of their teacher, principal, counselor, and parent. He said they will review the student's records to determine whether it is in his or her best interest to be retained or promoted to the fourth grade.

"Whatever they decide, it has to be unanimous," Allen said. "If one person says the child has to stay back, the child stays back. That's the Georgia Department of Education's policy."

Of the system's 564 third graders, 61 failed to achieve grade level scores on the Reading CRCT this past spring. Fifth-two of those attended summer school and sat for a second administration of the Reading CRCT. Only 38 passed the second time around -- 15 special education students and 23 regular education students.

Allen said 10 of the 14 who failed the test the second time around were special education students. The other four were regular education students. Nine third-graders chose not to participate in the summer program.

Like Smith, Allen said the students will be offered supplemental services, including tutoring, to ensure a strong academic future.

A passing score on the Reading CRCT for third-graders is a 300. This is the first year the test has been used for retention purposes.

During the 2004-2005 school year, fifth-graders who do not perform at grade level in reading and mathematics on the CRCT will not be promoted to the sixth grade. By the end of the 2005-2006 school year, the same will be true for eighth-graders in the areas of reading, English/language arts, and mathematics.

Students in grades three through eight are also assessed in science and social studies.



To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call (229) 244-3400, ext. 255.

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