899 eligible for summer school
Math failures doubling enrollment of normal session
By Winston Jones
Staff Writer

All seven Douglas County middle schools will offer summer school remedial sessions this year due to the large influx of students who failed the eighth grade math CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests).

“We have 899 students eligible for summer school,” said Dr. David Whitfield, chief of staff of middle school, high school and vocational instruction. He said this is about twice the size of the normal summer class.

“In past years, middle schools paired up and shared a site,” Whitfield said. “This year every middle school will have its own site.”

He said there will be no bus transportation provided this year, as during past summers, since the buses were used only for shuttling students from their home schools to the host schools.

Although students can retake the CRCT test a second time without attending summer school, Whitfield said attendance is preferred.

“It helps us to identify their weaknesses, so they can pass the test on the second try,” he said.

If a student fails the test for a second time, he/she must go before a placement committee that decides if the student can be promoted or must repeat the grade. Third-, fifth- and eighth-graders must pass the CRCT for promotion to the next grade. The math and reading CRCT scores are also part of what Georgia uses to meet federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards.

The state has promised $1.4 million extra to help school districts offset the extra summer school costs, but Whitfield said so far he’s not received any information on this from the state.

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox threw out social studies CRCT scores for sixth- and seventh-graders after announcing that 70 to 80 percent failed that portion of the test. Social studies scores are not used for promotion. Cox has said the math scores will stand.

Nearly half (45 percent) of Douglas County eighth graders failed the math CRCT, which was about the same level that failed statewide.

State officials said they expected more students to fail because the test was more difficult this year. The scores reported are preliminary, with final statewide scores due to be released in June.

–The Associated Press contributed to this story.