Barrow County Chamber of Commerce President Tommy Jennings took us to task a couple weeks ago for what he perceived as a negative headline on a story about local school CRCT results. The headline read, “CRCT results leave room for improvement.”
Jennings objected to that wording given that students had improved in some areas on the 2010 CRCT.
We agree that Barrow students improved, for the most part, on the CRCT this year (the exceptions to that are outlined on a school-by-school basis in a news story this week.) But there’s more to look at on CRCT results than just whether or not there is school improvement from year to year. The long-term trend is, of course, important and it’s good when a school shows improvement over a period of time.
Just as important, however, is how Barrow County schools compare to other area school systems and to the overall state results. A school can be improving, but still lag its peers overall.
And that’s the situation today in Barrow County. Yes, there is ongoing improvement in Barrow’s test results, but overall, the system continues to lag behind many other area school systems.
That’s important to note because it’s those communities that Barrow competes with for quality growth.
If you divide the state’s school system into thirds, Barrow test results fall mostly into the middle tier while many other area school systems are in the top one-third of school systems in the state. Several are in the top five percent.
In most of the CRCT content areas for grades three, five and eight, Barrow is in the middle of results while Oconee County, Madison County, Jackson County, Oglethorpe County, Gwinnett County, Morgan County, Jefferson City and Commerce City are mostly in the top one-third or higher.
The same holds true for high school SAT results where surrounding school systems are fairly consistently in the top one-third while Barrow falls somewhere in the middle. We believe Barrow has the potential to be in that top one-third category. Given the county’s resources and demographics, there’s no reason for Barrow to be a second-tier school system when compared to the surrounding area. Of course, test scores are not the entire measure of a school. There are many other factors that come into play as well. But it is those test scores that people look at when evaluating the quality of a school and it is the standard by which schools now measure themselves.
So while we applaud the improvements being made in many of Barrow’s schools, there is more work to be done — there is “room for improvement.”
Being content with the status quo just isn’t good enough anymore — the bar has to be raised if Barrow is to compete with its neighbors.
Excellent critique here. Barrow's schools have indeed improved, yet there is still much room to improve.
We have reached the point where, I too believe, we should compare ourselves, not only to the "average school", but schools ranked highly each year. And coincidentially, many of those schools are our neighbors.