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Students improve on most end-of-course tests

Published 5:18am Friday, July 12, 2013

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Students improved performance on nearly every 2013 End-of-Course Test (EOCT) compared to last year, according to data released Wednesday by the Georgia Department of Education (DOE).

In April 2011, the State Board of Education approved a plan to phase out Georgia High School Graduation Tests, beginning with students who entered ninth grade for the first time in the 2011-12 school year. For these students, the EOCT counts as 20 percent of the student’s final grade, an increase from the previous 15 percent level.

Students saw improved scores in U.S. History, Economics, Biology, Physical Science, Ninth Grade Literature and Composition, American Literature and Composition, Geometry, and Mathematics II. There were particularly large jumps in pass rates for Mathematics II, U.S. History and Physical Science.

“These scores show the hard work of our teachers and students is paying off,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “When looking at results in subjects that can be compared to last year, it is a positive trend. However, we are not where we need to be in every subject, particularly in math.

In Coordinate Algebra, 37 percent of students met or exceeded the standard this year — the first ever administration of the test after schools began offering Coordinate Algebra for the first time last fall. The rate of students passing the test is expected to increase next year.

“The Coordinate Algebra results give us a first look at the new level of rigor that is coming with new federal criteria for state tests, where the expectations to meet standards will increase significantly,” said Superintendent Barge. “The new cut scores on the Coordinate Algebra test are more in line with the higher level of expectations required for students to get into post-secondary institutions and not need remediation, as well as the expectations many of today’s jobs require, which is why fewer students met or exceeded the standard.

“Over time, I am confident that our students will become more comfortable with the new level of rigor and will demonstrate that in their college and career readiness.”

Other 2013 EOCT results include:

• 59 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Mathematics II, an increase of 5 percentage points compared to 2012.

• 75 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Geometry, an increase of 1 percentage point compared to 2012.

• 86 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Ninth Grade Literature and Composition, an increase of 2 percentage points compared to 2012.

• 91 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for American Literature and Composition, an increase of 2 percentage points compared to 2012.

• 74 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Biology, an increase of 1 percentage point compared to 2012.

• 83 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Physical Science, an increase of 6 percentage points compared to 2012.

• 73 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for U.S. History, an increase of 5 percentage points compared to 2012.

• 79 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Economics/Business/Free Enterprise, an increase of 2 percentage points compared to 2012.

• 29 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Mathematics I. The scores are not comparable to previous years because so few students (4,286 statewide) took the test.

• 30 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for Algebra. The scores are not comparable to previous years because so few students (588 statewide) took the test.

The purposes of the EOCTs are to assess student achievement of the state standards in designated core courses and to provide data to assist in the improvement of instruction and learning.

The EOCTs assess a sample of the knowledge and skills that educators agree comprise a complete curriculum for each course. Georgia students have opportunities to learn — and are expected to master — much more than the tests address. Student performance is categorized into three levels: does not meet standard, meets standard and exceeds standard.

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