New report: Georgia telling parents tall tales when it pronounces their kids proficient

A new report by the national education advocacy group Achieve finds Georgia sets the lowest bar in the country for student proficiency in math and reading.

The study compares the percentage of Georgia students scoring proficient on the CRCT in 2013-14 against those attaining a proficient level on the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as NAEP.

TimBrinton.NewsArtConsidered the gold standard, NAEP sets its bar for proficiency much higher than most states, but no state has as large and as consistent gaps across grades as Georgia.

A national test given to select students in every state, NAEP is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.

Because students across the nation take the same NAEP assessment, state-to-state comparisons can be made.

“Proficient” on NAEP means a student is performing at the top levels of what could be expected for the grade. The discrepancies between the performance of Georgia students on NAEP and the CRCT could be due to several factors. NAEP could too hard, although that wouldn’t explain why students in some states do well on it. It could be the CRCT is too easy or the cut score for proficiency is set too low in Georgia.

Achieve says there’s an honesty gap in what states tell parents about their students’ preparedness for college and career and how well those students really stack up to peers around the country based on NAEP results.

Based on how many Georgia kids judged proficient by the CRCT end up scoring below proficient on the NAEP, the state wins the whopper of the year award.

Georgia leads the nation in the gap between what it deemed proficient in 8th grade reading and what NAEP defined as proficient; there was a 65 percentage point difference  between Georgia’s reported 2013-14 proficiency levels and the state’s 2013 NAEP proficiency level.

It also has the greatest gap in 4th grade reading, 60 percentage points.

In 8th grade math, Georgia led the nation with a 53 point gap. In 4th grade math, we had a 43 percentage point gap, the second highest in the nation after Louisiana.

Critics contend NAEP expects unrealistically high performances from students, but several states have similar standards to NAEP based on their test comparisons, including New York, Wisconsin, Utah, Alabama, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota and Tennessee.

On a media call this morning with reporters, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said his state committed to stop lying to parents by telling them their children were proficient when they weren’t.

A decade ago, Haslam said 90 percent of Tennessee students were deemed proficient based on state testing. Yet, 70 percent of the students attending community colleges in the state required remediation.

“When we set our own standards, we were defining proficiency standards that were way too low,” he said. “There is no way you can have 90 percent proficient, and then when students got to community college, 70 percent need remediation.”

Along with adopting Common Core, using its federal Race to the Top grant to innovate and listening to educators in the state, Haslam said Tennessee asked more of its teachers and students. And it has paid off, he said.

“Tennessee made the largest gains in the last round of NAEP testing. Largest gains in history and Tennessee have rarely been used in the same sentence before,” Haslam said.

Michael Cohen, president for Achieve, noted Georgia and other states have now adopted new tests that purportedly better measure critical thinking and problem-solving. “My hope is that we will see a closing of this gap the next time states report their results,” said Cohen.

He also warned states need the political courage to accept more rigorous tests could produce lower rates of students reaching proficiency levels, saying, “If you are improving your tests…this is not a time to retreat. Stay the course even in the face of political pressures out there.”

Here is the official statement from Achieve:

Achieve today released a new report that highlights the fact that too often, state-reported proficiency rates in English Language Arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics are disconnected from other benchmarks of readiness and vary widely from state to state.

The report, “Proficient vs. Prepared: Disparities between State Tests and the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),” details the discrepancies between student proficiencies as reported by states to students, parents, and educators, and as reported by NAEP, considered the gold standard of student assessment for comparisons across state lines.

Over the past two years, many states report proficiency rates more than 30 percentage points higher than their 2013 NAEP proficiency rates, leading parents and educators to believe that far more students are succeeding in grade-level ELA/literacy and mathematics than is actually the case.

“Parents and educators deserve honest, accurate information about how well their students are performing, and the extent to which they have a solid foundation for their continued learning,” said Michael Cohen, President of Achieve. “Tests are not the only source of this information, but they are certainly an important one. We don’t do our students any favors if we don’t level with them when test results come back.”

NAEP, also known as the “nation’s report card,” is the only assessment with comparable results for all 50 states. NAEP is administered to a representative sample of students from all 50 states every two years. The main NAEP assessment for reading and mathematics, which provides results for individual states, can be compared with previous assessment years going back to 1990. State participation was optional until 2003, the year all states were required to participate.

The Achieve report includes state-reported proficiency data from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years compared with 2013 NAEP results. Some states have made progress in closing the honesty gap by switching to new assessments aligned to their college- and career-ready state academic standards in the 2013-14 school year.

Faced with clear evidence that too many students graduate from high school without the academic skills necessary for success in college and careers, every state has adopted new college- and career-ready academic standards in recent years. This school year (2014-15), many more states are administering new tests aligned to their college- and career-ready standards.

“Giving tests that are well-aligned to rigorous standards is an important step. To provide students, parents, and educators with more accurate information, states must also set rigorous ‘cut scores’ so that ‘proficiency’ means that students have a solid grasp of the material. Leaders in many states are already taking steps in this direction. Unfortunately, in some states there is political pressure to abandon this goal by undermining new assessments and going back to using less rigorous tests,” continued Cohen. “If we want to improve educational outcomes for children, we need to have good assessments and be honest about the results.”

Historically, this publicly available data has been similarly compiled and compared by the National Center for Education Statistics, the Education Trust,  and has been included in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Leaders and Laggards report.

Fourth grade reading has been highlighted as a gateway grade because learning to read by this grade sets the foundation for reading to learn throughout the rest of a student’s academic career. Likewise, eighth grade math has been highlighted because students need to have this foundation to be able to continue on through higher level math in high school. The full report is available here.

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81 comments
4PublicEducation
4PublicEducation

I have said this before, but the whole testing craze is all about money.  Money to develop new tests which either goes to universities or private corporations, money to buy them, money tied to scores, and money for alternative schools for profit if scores are low enough.  Educators still use the ITBS for a really valid test to determine academic placement in gifted and special ed.  It is reliable and has been around a long time; I am retired and I took it as a kid.  Teachers and parents can gain more information from the ITBS, which is a norm referenced test,  than any of these more recently developed criterion referenced tests.  But no one will gain any money from choosing the ITBS.  

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

@4PublicEducation "the whole testing craze" came about because of a lack of grading integrity on the part of teachers.  Decades ago, awful stories were published about students who couldn't read or do arithmetic, yet somehow had managed to graduate from high school.  They were passed on from grade to grade by teachers who didn't want to award valid grades for fear of rocking the boat.


THIS is the fruit of those deceptions.

And the beat goes on...
And the beat goes on...

An interesting correlation that may suggest possible reasons for the variable cut scores to determine proficiency on the CRCT is that during relatively good economic times, more students failed the CRCT because there was state money available to pay for remediation.  During poor economic times, it seemed that the percentage of proficient students soared because there was no money to pay for remediation.  Correlation is not causation, but this correlation should be considered.  

popacorn
popacorn

All this because we just can't accept the fact that massive numbers of today's kids are dumber than doorknobs and will always be dumber than doorknobs. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

"Twenty five years ago we didn't State-test ANYTHING and our high school grads did great "


Back then if a student failed the teacher's tests, they got an "F" in the class, were retained, and certainly did not graduate.  The students who would not or could not do the work would finally drop out.  Graduation with a HS diploma meant something and employers could count on them being literate.


Now, teachers give out passing grades even when their students are nowhere near passing because their administrators make them.


By the way, there are lots of jobs out there, just go down to Vidalia and ask.  They can't find people willing to work so they have to fight to import people from foreign countries to do the labor.  I remember my son telling me that if a job didn't pay at least $10 an hour, it wasn't worth his time.  I told him, fine, but I guess you won't have any money.

PJ25
PJ25

@OldPhysicsTeacher @class80olddog The jobs are there for those who choose to learn a trade or get a four year degree.  Can every adult in the US do this?  No, but a whole lot more can than currently have. 

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@class80olddog As I said... There were plenty of jobs in the 50's-80's that paid LIVING wages; few of them picking fruit and veggies.  They were in manufacturing, farming, and warehousing.  The question should be, "Where are those jobs?"  If you say technology got rid of them, my response will be, "They replaced guys plowing with mules to guys plowing with tractors.  The jobs just changed.  They use forklifts in warehousing now, BUT they still need forklift operators,AND when it's only one box, you still need a human."  Repeat:  "Where are the jobs?"  ans: Overseas and in South America... because the pay is less and the profits are higher.  This is NOT education's responsibility.  Kids haven't changed - the jobs are simply not here. The jobs for the dropouts don't exist.  ONCE AGAIN:  This. Is. Not.Education's. JOB!

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@Outer Marker @OldPhysicsTeacher @class80olddog 

BUT.....we have been told, To get a good job, "... get a four year degree."  And you're right!!!  And totally irrelevant.  My point is, we USED to have jobs for darned near every person in the USA.  Now, we don't.  We only have jobs for, "... those who choose to learn a trade or get a four year degree."  Why?  That is the real question: "WHY?"  There used to be jobs for kids who dropped out of school and wanted to work.  My dad dropped out in the 10th grade to support his sister and niece (abused wife and daughter) and went directly into the mill. He got promoted to a "real" job because he was SMART --- not educated!  And once again, TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.  A guy I went to school with, and dropped out, now is retiring, owns a home and a small farm, all because he got a job WITH A LIVING WAGE as a high school dropout.  Those jobs are now in Vietnam, Cambodia, etc, etc., because..... wait for it.... it's cheaper labor to "hire" a 6-10 year-old girl and chain her to a workbench for $0.10 per hour.  Who let that happen???  CONGRESS.  Who's blaming "failing schools" for our inability to find living wage jobs? CONGRESS.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

Let's see:

A) Twenty five years ago we didn't State-test ANYTHING and our high school grads did great

B) We started testing students twenty years ago and blaming teachers for the "failures."  Our high school grads still did great at college.

C) Each year, we've increased the difficulty of the testing.... and still blamed the teachers for the failures.

D) Our students know less and less about more and more and score better on the tests - get a hs diploma and can't compete in college....and still blamed the teachers for the failures.

E) CONCLUSION:  The teachers are working harder than ever before, but kids now are the same as kids then. The kids haven't changed, because we still have dumb kids, average kids, smart kids at the same ratio as always.  The difference is the low-average and the average kids now think they're college material BECAUSE THERE ARE NO JOBS FOR THEM so they go to college... and fail there.  Or get useless degrees, owe a LOT of maney, and can't get a job. 


We don't have an education problem, we have a jobs-for-everybody problem.  If the lying legislators would stop trying to defeat ObamaCare, stop trying to blame teachers, stop trying to blame unions, stop trying to start wars, quit blaming our problems on Immigration, AND STOP LOOKING FOR SCAPEGOATS AND DO THEIR JOBS (keep American jobs in America) maybe things would improve.  But that's too simple, right?

Starik
Starik

@OldPhysicsTeacher Good points all - and the job situation may be improving, as third-world salaries rise and working conditions there improve we are seeing some jobs returning because shipping costs erase the wage differences -  but we'll probably never see good paying factory jobs return because of technology like robotics & 3-D printing. 


We also need to do something to make sure we make the most of our smart kids, the ones who will end up leaders (except in politics).  I have encountered bright kids who are stuck in terrible schools in bad neighborhoods who are isolated from other bright kids.  Bright or not, they're kids and they want to fit in and the way to fit in with people who are not as smart as you are is NOT to emphasize your achievements.


We need to recognize that kids are different, have different needs, and educate them differently.  Some private schools manage this because they are selective in who they admit and rigorous in what they require. We need public schools that do the same, and will allow poor bright kids to develop their talents.



popacorn
popacorn

@Starik @OldPhysicsTeacher

Sorry, our only goal is to close the intelligence gap, which is impossible, but we're gonna try! If we have to drag the bright ones way down in order to drag the dregs up just a bit, so be it. Say goodbye to excellence, America.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@Starik @OldPhysicsTeacher Ummmm.  We USED to have a place for those kids.  It WAS called The Governor's Honors Program.  It was run by professionals under MINIMUM controls by the Department of EDUCATION.  It allowed these really bright kids, who are rare, to find other smart kids to form life-long bonds.  Many of them are leaders across the USA.

It is now run by the Governor Nathan (The Crooked) Deal's POLITICAL Arm.  Once again, politics rears it's head to run education down. I wonder how many politicians close to Deal will have their average kids at GHP from now on?

BTW, there are few really smart kids in private (or the special charter) schools.  Most of them are "good" kids with "good" parents who want to give their children the best advantage they can (ex: Harvard - where the "average" grade is an "A." -really??  All students at Harvard are "A" students??  It took JKF jr, I understand, 4 attempts to pass the bar.)  Frankly, there are very few really smart kids, period.  They're at the upper 2.5% of our population.  Few of them "cluster" because they are so different from you and me.  That was the original purpose for GHP - for these special, really different kids to find each other.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@popacorn @Starik @OldPhysicsTeacher I used to believe that, too.  The "goal" in education is to take the blame for what politicians have failed to do - protect the middle class.  Educators, in trying to do the impossible - make ALL kids above average, are simply trying to play the game - get everybody to graduate with a high school diploma.  Like Syndrome said in The Incredibles, "*Everyone* can be super! And when everyone's super...[chuckles evilly] *no one* will be."  AND WE, THE PUBLIC, BOUGHT INTO THIS censored...... and are blaming the teachers when the problem is lying legislators.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@Starik @OldPhysicsTeacher "Some private schools manage this because they are selective in who they admit and rigorous in what they require."  And there is another HUGE difference: they don't have to listen to what lying state AND federal legislators say!  They teach their material, they test their material, and they grade their tests themselves.... just like public schools did before lying legislators got involved.

Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

If the proficiency scores are dropped low enough, then we can declare GA students 100% proficient and close the schools.  Think of the savings.

flaneur_
flaneur_

Portraying achievement tests as unfair, hopelessly inaccurate and agenda driven is all too common on this blog.

But sometimes it's convenient not to?

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@flaneur_


When you have a child who is reading two grades below level and failing all his/her classes who goes on to pass the CRCT, and you are told you cannot retain said child because they "passed" the all important test, then YES the test is obviously inaccurate and agenda driven.

redweather
redweather

What happened to the discussion bitcoin and I were having earlier this afternoon? 

flaneur_
flaneur_

@redweather 

Maureen's become comfortable with the notion that deleting opposing opinions is censorship only when conservatives do it.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Oh good grief, stratify the results by demographics and then compare.  My guess, there is not much difference between the states when compared in this manner.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@Lee_CPA2 


And, the failure to account for that variable makes it impossible to draw many meaningful conclusions about the state of education in this state over time. I would venture that there has been a change in the quality of "educators" over the last generation or two.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@Lexi3 @Lee_CPA2 Lexi. unfortunately that's true.  Not only that, but there has been a fall-off in the numbers of education majors... which unfortunately means that the "brighter" nascent educators have changed majors to something that will give them a "better life" than having lying legislators scapegoating them - probably business degrees or BS degrees in "profitable" majors.  The only ones left to "fall on the sword" are the... shall we say...less qualified?

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@OldPhysicsTeacher @Lexi3 @Lee_CPA2


I'd be careful about generalizing.  I still see a lot of very qualified educators entering the field, though not as many as we need.  There are also quite  a few of us "veterans" left who have too many years in to really consider bailing now.  I do worry that the best of the newbies might not stay long though.  It seem the pros of this field become less and less while the cons continue to grow, and the younger talented teachers have the option of leaving for a more lucrative field with more respect and less stress.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@Quidocetdiscit @OldPhysicsTeacher @Lexi3 @Lee_CPA2 

"I still see a lot of very qualified educators entering the field, though not as many as we need."  I don't doubt they occur.  But I'll bet big money they are few and far between.  And when they get in 5 years and see no growth in responsibility, they're movin' on.

 You must be in Cobb or Gwinnett County with a LARGE tax base.  Every physics or chemistry education major ends up in those counties... other than a county who will pay for a 4 year chem/phy education major out of high school.  and as soon as "the contract" is up, they'll go into industry for double the pay.  Or, they'll leave and got to Cobb/Gwinnett. 

redweather
redweather

I wonder what our state school superintendent, Richard "Georgia grown and Georgia owned" Woods, thinks about this.  Somebody wake him up.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

Well, hello!  Haven't I been saying the same thing on this blog for years now?


And you don't have to compare with the NAEP if you think that's too rigorous. The ITBS or the state's own Lexile comparisons will show the same thing.


One can only hope the new Milestones tests will be more realistic, but since the GaDOE isn't publicizing any results until the fall, I doubt it. I think they're just using the extra few months to come up with politically correct cut scores.

KKane
KKane

I'm a little confused because I thought the Georgia Milestones test replaces the CRCT. If so, then we need to be comparing the standards set by the Georgia Milestones test versus the NAEP. 

redweather
redweather

@KKane And do you seriously think the Georgia Milestones will be an improvement?  I'm dubious, to say the least. 

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@KKane Half of our students took the new Milestones EOCs in December, but the state won't release the

grades until fall.  Hard to compare what you can't see.  


However, if the state knows what students need to be able to do and know to be "proficient" why the delay?

redweather
redweather

@bitcoin Standardized tests are indeed regularly criticized in this blog, and for good reason when they are used to evaluate teaching effectiveness.  Like them or not, however, they matter.  In this instance, the test results make Georgia look very bad. It seems Georgia wants to go it alone when it comes to how it educates its young people.  But no one, not even Georgia, can hide from the facts.

redweather
redweather

@bitcoin @redweather I'm not having anything both ways. Standardized tests have their place in education.  For instance, I support the SAT as a valid gauge of student preparedness for college. But it isn't the only thing we should use when evaluating a college applicant. The same goes for all of the other standardized tests students take. Those tests were never intended to become the be-all-and-end-all of everything. But now teachers are forced to spend way too much time prepping students to take those tests, and prepping and teaching are not the same thing. The NAEP has value because it helps us see where Georgia's students stand in relation to all of the other students in the country. That has value because no child should be educationally handicapped because the powers that be in his state don't value education.

bitcoin
bitcoin

@redweather @bitcoin 

I gather your political party lost the November election. 

As for testing and its uses—parents and taxpayers are clear on what testing has been saying about the need for education reform and more choices.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@To all, I am having a discussion with one of my co-workers on this study. Would love someone to address this issue:

Where does Georgia set proficiency compared to other states? Does high-achieving Massachusetts align with NAEP because it has harder and betters tests or does Massachusetts require a higher performance level from its students before labeling them proficient? 

Looking at the wide NAEP/CRCT gap, there are these possibilities:

1. The CRCT was too easy.

2. It was an OK test, but the state set the proficiency level -- how many items kids had to get right -- too low.

This is one of those topics that debunker Gerald Bracey was good at; he told me once the CRCT was not a bad test, but that Georgia had set its proficiency levels too low.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@MaureenDowney


The cut scores were definitely too low.  If you compared CRCT scores with ITBS scores, students who were barely proficient on the CRCT in 8th grade were on a 4th grade level in reading and math on the ITBS.  Only those students who "exceeded expectations" on the CRCT were close to, at, or above grade level, according to the ITBS.


Supposedly the new math tests (coordinate algebra and analytic geometry) set more realistic expectations.  If you compare the students who "exceeded expectations" on the 8th grade math CRCT in 2013 (31.4%) with those who passed the coordinate algebra EOCT in Spring 2014 (40.3%), it appears that might be the case.  

Independent ED
Independent ED

@MaureenDowney Cut scores for a "proficient" label were always too low.  They were around 50%.  Does a kid who scores an 800 know much more than a kid that scored a 799?  No, but one carries the label of "proficient" while the other doesn't, and for a school the difference in an 800 and a 799 was major, with ramifications from CCRPI to district goals and incentives.  It's really silly when you think about it, but that's reality.


It's hard to know whether the test itself was hard or not.  The issue wasn't the test, it was the low bar set by the state.  When it comes to criterion referenced testing, you either know the answers or you don't, and you're scored based on how many you answered correctly.  On normed testing, like the ITBS, you're scored by comparison and ranked among all the students who take the test.  There's always going to be a 50th percentile and those on either side of it.  State testing doesn't work that way.  Those going on about ITBS, using it would be fine if the test was aligned to the Georgia curriculum.  With all the changes Georgia's had in the past, who knows?  With a more common curriculum among the states, it might be possible, and that's the focus of the major testing companies and their tests which Georgia opted out of in favor of creating their own.  Follow the money when it comes to this subject.  Thorns lie down every path, sadly.


What's funny about testing is that when they field test questions, they use data to determine whether or not the question was too easy or too hard.  If too many students answer a question correctly, they may deem it too easy.  How about maybe the kids just knew the answer to that because it was covered well in class?  If you have a standard in the curriculum about Ben Franklin and the question asks about that standard, the kid either knows it or not (or guesses well, but that's another topic).  There are so many layers to test creation, especially when you're talking about large scale standardized test creation.  These layers extend well beyond simply asking kids to demonstrate what they know. 

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@MaureenDowney Good luck in finding out.  The cut scores are a closely kept secret.  All anyone hears is hearsay.  Naturally, if I was the guy to set the cut scores, I'd publish the values... year, right!  If your rear end was on the hot seat,You'd keep the cut scores secret too!!

teachermom4
teachermom4

@Quidocetdiscit @Mandingo @MaureenDowney I have also sat through retention meetings because a child failed the CRCT but had good grades. The excuse for not retaining was the grades. Unfortunately, the elephant in the room was the fact that we were not allowed to give grades below 50% and failed work/tests were to be repeated until "mastery", i.e. good grades, occurred. Good grades keep parents happy. Happy parents=happy administrators. Fortunately the administrator responsible for that debacle was demoted. I still hear about that kind of thing happening in my school system, though.


Mandingo
Mandingo

@MaureenDowney A high school math teacher I met at the gym ( public school ) told me he has to teach to the level of the students he has in his class. Kids are not held back because they can not  do the coursework or perform to standards set by the curriculum. This starts in the grade schools where the bars of achievement do not exist and every one that " participates " is given a passing grade. Public school teachers are paid by the degrees they have and many obtain them online and during a month or two of " intense " (lol) work during the summer. You are conditioned to think the more degrees or knowledge  a person has the better the results should be for the students these highly qualified teachers work with. IMO, most perform at the same level as the teacher that is minimally qualified to teach. I don't blame the teachers or the students. The system that wants to " leave no child behind " is to blame. Grades should be earned and not given out like food stamps to any eligible applicant. 

popacorn
popacorn

@Mandingo @MaureenDowney

Educators always blame the previous teachers for students' pitiful performance. It is but one weapon in their survival arsenal. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MaureenDowney I'm guessing Massachusetts does not test on the state bird in 3rd grade, as Georgia has with the CRCT year after year, test form after test form.


I have seen the CRCT forever, as I was always "chosen" (lucky me!) to give it to sped kids with the "read to" accommodation.  Most teachers are much less familiar.  It is a poor test.  Poorly designed, poorly written, etc.  I am speaking of the tests at 3rd,4th, and 5th grade.


Compounding that, the cut scores have been set abysmally low.  And I mean LOW.


There are reasons teachers were not supposed to read the test, and it isn't just test security!



ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@popacorn @Mandingo @MaureenDowney


"Educators always blame the previous teachers for students' pitiful performance."


Actually, it's frequently the administrators who won't allow teachers to retain students whether they have mastered the necessary skills or not. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Mandingo @MaureenDowney

"This starts in the grade schools where the bars of achievement do not exist and every one that " participates " is given a passing grade. "


Our "elementary school" gives grades and no, they are not all passing.  Unfortunately, thanks to the low cut scores on the CRCT, students who should have been held back were usually passed on because they passed the CRCT.  And when it comes to teacher's word verses that all important test, the test usually wins.