Dawson County schools have proved themselves among the brightest in the state, according to preliminary school-level Criterion-Referenced Competency Test results.
Released last week, the school-level results give administrators a more complete look at how individual schools and grade levels fared by subject. The systemwide results were released last month.
Across the board, students at all four area elementary schools and both middle schools scored above the state average on the test, which covers reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies.
"We're blessed to have such good schools, teachers, students and parents," said Rick Brown, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
"Being above the state average, and being among the 23 percent of schools who met [Adequate Yearly Progress] goals, shows that we are just lucky and blessed to have such a strong school system."
Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, is the measure for the federal No Child Left Behind act.
Schools that fail to make AYP can face consequences, including the possibility of the state stepping in to run them.
At the elementary level, Dawson schools showed particular strength in reading and English/language arts, with more than 90 percent of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders meeting or exceeding state standards in all three categories.
After just its first year, Riverview Elementary recorded the lone perfect score, with 100 percent of fourth-graders meeting or exceeding state standards in language arts.
There are areas of concern, however.
Significant numbers of local elementary school students failed to meet standards in math, science and social studies.
Among them were 26.5 percent of Black's Mill third-graders in science and 26.8 percent of Riverview fifth-graders in math.
"If even one student doesn't pass, we're not happy, so we will definitely be taking a look at those numbers and try to further develop our system and school plans to figure out how we can best help the students have the strongest showing possible on these types of tests," Brown said.
The trend continued in the higher grades, with both Riverview and Dawson County middle schools posting strong scores in reading and English/language arts, and slightly weaker marks in math, science and social studies.
More than 90 percent of local sixth-graders met the reading and English/language arts standards, while nearly 20 percent failed to meet those for math and science.
In contrast, less than 6 percent of seventh-graders didn't meet math, science and social studies standards, and just 8.3 percent of eighth-graders at Riverview didn't make it in science and social studies.
"Some years, some groups can do different than other groups on portions of the test," Brown said. "We want to add this year's data to data from previous years and look for trends. Then we'll work to apply the curriculum in a way that most benefits the students and allows them to perform to the best of their ability."
While some grades at individual schools may not have fared well on specific portions of the test, the overall scores of Dawson County students were strong.
"We're ahead of most of the state," Brown said. "And that's where we want to remain."