Reading in Rural Georgia
Keywords:achievement gap, low-income, reading proficiency, high-stakes testing
Young children in rural America face challenges in becoming proficient readers by the end of third grade. Assessment measures required by No Child Left Behind indicate that 50 percent of rural schools reported achievement gaps between low income and non-low income children. This paper examined school district productivity ratings and third grade reading Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) scores from three small city school districts and their separate three county districts in the state's rural areas during the 2007-2008 academic year. Results indicated that school district productivity as measured by adjusted return on investment (ROI) scores varied across rural areas of the state; adjusted ROI scores also carried within city and county systems in the rural areas of the state. All six rural districts included low income percentages of students greater than 50 percent. The findings in this paper warrant additional research regarding the topics of school funding, especially in rural areas, the factors of productivity needed for effective school reform and the efficacy of the state's high-stakes reading assessment.