VALDOSTA -- Fewer than 11 percent of the Valdosta City School System's third-graders failed to achieve grade level scores on the recent Reading Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test.

"We are really excited about the low figure," said Superintendent Sam Allen. "Our teachers and parents did an outstanding job preparing these kids and getting them where they need to be. This shows how much effort they put into making these kids successful." Out of the system's 564 third-graders, 60 scored below 300, the cutoff score for the third-grade level, on the test. Allen said a majority of those were special education students.

"Across the board, those who scored below 300 were primarily special education," he added.

Parents and guardians of those third-graders who did not score at grade level will be notified by mail of the opportunity to attend summer remediation instruction in the next few days. After completion of such they will be allowed to sit for a retest.

Those who do not pass the Reading CRCT the second time around will be retained in the third grade. An appeals process is in place for parents and guardians to object to the retention decision.

Allen said he is confident the majority of those who failed the first time will end up going to the fourth grade after successful remediation and retesting.

This is the first year the Reading CRCT has been used for retention purposes. Next year, fifth-graders who do not perform at grade level in reading and mathematics on the Georgia CRCT will not be promoted to the sixth grade. By the end of the 2005-06 school year, the same will be true for eighth graders.

The CRCT is designed to measure how well a student has mastered the skills and knowledge set forth in the Quality Core Curriculum. Georgia law requires that all students in grades first through eighth take the CRCT in the content 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 244-3400, ext. 255.

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