The Georgia Department of Education released results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) June 25 2014, and Putnam County students exceeded the state average in all 30 of the tests.

The CRCT is a state-required set of tests for all public school students in grades three through eight. There are separate tests in each of the six grades for five subjects – reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies. Students must pass the tests to be promoted to the next grade.

Putnam County scored higher than the other six counties in the Oconee Regional Educational Service Agency and the surrounding counties on 17 of the 30 tests. The RESA serves Baldwin, Hancock, Johnson, Putnam, Washington and Wilkinson counties.

Among the RESA systems and neighbors Greene, Jones and Morgan counties, Putnam County scored higher in third-grade math, science and social studies; fourth-grade ELA, science and social studies; fifth-grade reading, ELA, math and science; sixth-grade reading, math and social studies; and seventh-grade reading, math, science and social studies.

The CRCT has been administered in Georgia since 2000. Although the state implemented new tests for reading, ELA and math in 2013 based on the Common Core Curriculum, Putnam’s scores did not drop as GDOE said was expected in many systems.

Common Core uses an open-ended question or requires the student to derive an answer rather than choosing from a short list of possibilities.

To meet the challenges, Putnam County school officials created their own practice assessments, and teachers changed methods to address the changes.

“We’re trying to be in front of the changes with the state by using open-ended questions and more rigor in our classes and assessments,” Arena said.

“We’re ratcheting up our expectations for our children. The state tests are just a part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

This was the last year CRCTs will be given, according to information on the GDOE website. The state will begin using “Georgia’s Milestone Assessment System” in the 2014-2015 school year.