ATLANTA - For nearly a dozen years the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test was the 'Sword of Damocles' hanging over the head of every school in Georgia.

Those CRCT results could make or break a school and its staff.

Some believe the single dependence on those results contributed to the huge cheating scandal in Atlanta's Public School System that is still costing scores of teachers and administrators their jobs.

The CRCT report card is still around, but it is no longer as powerful as it once was.

Thanks to a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act a few months ago, Georgia is now creating its own broader system to measure a school's academic performance.

The CRCT will still be counted, especially for student promotion to the next grade, but it will only be one of several factors used to determine how a school is doing.

Instead of a simple "pass" or "fail", each school will be rated on a 1 to 100 point system.

"What we're saying with our new accountability system is, testing is not the only thing that we do to prepare children to get ready for the next level," Georgia School Superintendent John Barge told 11Alive News on Thursday.

Teacher organizations, like the 83,000 member strong Professional Association of Georgia Educators, think it's a better way to grade schools.

"Parents know that their student is more than just a test score on a single day," said PAGE spokesman Tim Callahan.

"Teachers and educators and people who're in PTA's know that schools are a whole lot more than just a score on a wall," he added.

The Georgia Department of Education hopes to begin using the new measuring system by the end of this year or the first of next.

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