The state of Georgia's performance standards for education provide a framework for instruction, assessment and student work at K-12 grade levels. To determine whether standards are met, the Criterion Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT, is given at the end of each school year. As a criterion-referenced test, the exam is scored for correctness of responses, rather than as a comparison between students. At the third grade level, the standardized test measures student achievement in reading, language arts, math, science and social studies.
Reading and Language Arts
The reading portion of the test focuses on vocabulary acquisition, literary comprehension and reading for information. To practice vocabulary development, third grade students study synonyms, develop an understanding of basic root words and practice determining meaning based on context in sentences. Georgia's Department of Education suggests that third grade student practice analyzing characters and investigating plot to practice literary comprehension. Exercises to practice reading for information may include determining the difference between facts and and opinions. The language arts section tests grammar and research. To prepare for the grammar questions on the test, students should practice conjugating verbs and identify parts of speech. Practice for research and writing may include developing sensory details and finding support for opinions.
Math and Science
Topics on the mathematics portion of the exam include number and operations, measurement and data analysis, and basic skills for geometry and algebra. A suggested activity is using money to develop understanding of money and base-ten. To practice data analysis, kids can practice categorizing and totaling data. Geometry at the third grade level includes identifying and classifying shapes, and preparation for algebra at this level may include the use of an addition table to practice determining patterns in numerical sequences or in shapes. The science portion of the CRCT includes earth, physical and life science. Students can prepare for science questions with categorization activities, simple experiments and observation of the physical environment.
Major topics on the social studies section of the CRCT are history, geography, government and economics. The history portion of the test includes understanding of Greek democracy as a comparison to U.S. government. Identification of key figures in American history is a skill needed for the exam. To practice for the geography questions, students should be able to identify major features of the topography of the United States -- primarily major rivers or mountain ranges. For the government portion, third grade students should have a basic understanding of separation of powers; allowing students to analyze receipts, pay stubs and tax bills prepares them for economics questions.
Online Resources for Preparation
The study guide published by the Georgia Department of Education provides an overview of all test topics and activities to help students prepare for the test. Additionally, the state department of education publishes content descriptions for each grade in each subject. Finally, the Online Assessment System provides teachers and parents free login information to access practice tests for each subject on the test.
Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.