The Criterion-Referenced Competency Test is the standardized assessment given to all Georgia public school students in grades one through eight. According to the Georgia Department of Education, the CRCT assesses student knowledge in reading, language arts, math, social studies and science. Student performance data helps determine the effectiveness and quality of education at the individual, school, district and state levels. While students do not earn a letter grade on the CRCT, their individual performances are assessed and in some cases, used to determine educational placement for the next school year.
Standardized tests are either norm-referenced or criterion-referenced. Norm-referenced tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, measure student performance compared with other students who have taken the test. Criterion-referenced tests measure how well students have learned a certain set of standards or material, regardless of other factors. The CRCT assesses Georgia students' mastery of the state curriculum.
The CRCT is administered annually. Statewide testing occurs during a time window determined by the Georgia Department of Education. School systems choose their testing dates within this window, which usually occurs in April. Students in grades one through eight take the reading, English language arts and mathematics tests. Students in grades three through eight also take science and social studies tests. The CRCT must be given by a Georgia certified educator and any student who is legally entitled to modifications of the test or testing environment receives them. Currently, the CRCT is multiple choice only.
Collection and Assessment
Strict protocols are followed to maintain the security of CRCT testing materials before, during and after administration. Once a school has completed its testing, the state collects all materials and grades student responses. Students are graded based on their number of correct answers and they receive separate results for each subject area. Preliminary results are generally returned for grades three, five and eight before the end of the school year, since students in those grades must pass the reading and math tests in order to move on to the next grade.
Students receive a ranking of “does not meet,” “meets” or “exceeds” for each subject area. Students in grades three, five or eight who receive “does not meet” on the reading or math tests receive remediation and must retake subject areas in which they did not meet expectations. A student’s score on the CRCT does not affect his or her report card grade.
Rochelle Spears Wilson holds a MA in professional writing and a BA in English. She was a classroom teacher for nine years and taught English, social studies and technology. She has worked with students in grades 4-12 and now owns her own consulting business.