This is the first year eighth graders are required to pass the criterion-referenced competency tests, or CRCT.
Scores released this week by the Georgia Department of Education show 23 percent of eighth graders failed the math test and 11 percent failed reading.
Those failing will not be promoted to ninth grade.
However, summer school is giving these students a second chance at getting into high school.
Evans High School summer school principal Chris Segraves says there are 14 classrooms devoted to CRCT teaching.
"They are kind of their own summer school," Segraves says. "They're on a separate wing than regular summer school students."
Dr. Lisa Soloff oversees CRCT summer school at three different schools in Columbia County, including the one at Evans High School.
"They may have met all of their academic criteria, but if they did not pass the CRCT then they have to come for the remediation for a second chance of retaking CRCT," she says.
And while eighth grade has been added to the No Child Left Behind part of retention and promotion, Dr. Soloff says it's a great way to see if students are grasping what they are being taught.
"I will say that accountability, yes, we needed some form of accountability. I think the law has been a very good law, but I think personally that students with special needs, their requirements ought to be a little altered, more so than regular education students."
State law already requires third graders to pass the reading test and fifth graders to pass reading and math.