Hard work and dedication. That's what educators in Thomasville and Thomas County say their students and teachers put in to preparing for the state Criterion-Referenced Competency Test last year.
"It was a harder test and they had to perform better in order to pass the test," said Director of Research and Accountability for the Thomas County School System, Dr. Scott James.
But when the numbers came back that nearly forty percent of Georgia eighth graders failed the mandated math exam, many were left frustrated, questioning whether the tests were even valid.
"We did have concerns from parents an some students who had never not passed a session of the test before that failed last year or came very close to failing," said Thomasville City School System Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Federal Programing, Cheryl Hay.
"I think immediately people assumed that maybe the test was not valid just because the students performance was not very well," Dr. James.
But a new independent audit just released, shows the state math and science CRCT's are in fact aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards.
But most educators aren't surprised. They attribute the scores to a new integrated curriculum, that has eighth graders learning subjects previously taught in high school.
"I think while it's a little frightening to see a low pass rate at first I think what we're going to see in math achievement as time goes by is going to be phenomenal we're gong to have more students capable of doing more math than we ever dreamed possible," said Dr. Dale Grayham, Math Coordinator for Thomasville City Schools and the Director of the Scholar Academy.
"Even though the pass rate for this exam was only like 60-percent your talking about 60% of a total population that showed that they were capable of 90% of Algebra I and 70% of Geometry," said Dr. Dale Grayham.
So while test scores could actually take a hit for a few years, teachers say students will get a better quality of education as a result.