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High School Students Increase Scores on State Writing Test

Douglas County's New Manchester High School showed the greatest gains with a 7 percent increase over last year.

Ninety-three percent of eleventh grade students in the Douglas County School System met or exceeded the standard on the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) administered in October, the same percentage as students across the state, according to a press release from the Douglas County School System. The test was administered to high school juniors and other first time test takers as one of their graduation requirements.

“We are certainly proud of these results as evidence of the hard work of our teachers and students,” said Dr. Gordon Pritz, superintendent. “Our staff and students are continually challenged by a number of assessment measurements administered throughout the school year. Improvement at every school and as a District is something we do not take lightly and are encouraged by the results.”

Percentages of eleventh grade students who met or exceeded at each school are as follows: 94 percent at 92 percent at Chapel Hill, 93 percent at Douglas County, 90 percent at Lithia Springs, and 92 percent at New Manchester. New Manchester showed the greatest gains with a 7 percent increase over last year.

Since 2008-2009, the system has shown an increase of 6 percent. Ninety-three percent of students in Georgia passed the exam up from 91 percent passing in 2011.

“We are very pleased that our students did well on the High School Writing Test and believe our more rigorous Common Core Georgia Performance curriculum has made an impact,” said Pam Nail, Associate Superintendent for Student Achievement and Leadership. “Our emphasis on writing across the curriculum has made a difference for students. Students who do not pass the test are offered remediation periods, additional instruction, and tutoring.”

The more rigorous GHSWT was first introduced in 2007 and Douglas County students as well as students across the state have been steadily improving their performance on the test. Locally, all subgroups showed an increase for 2012 with the exception of Hispanic students remaining at 92 percent meeting and exceeding. The only significant gap between subgroups exists between all
subgroups and our special education population. However, our special education students have shown the greatest gains of any subgroup, improving by 13 percent since 2009-2010.

The main administration of the GHSWT for eleventh or twelfth grade students who are testing for the first time is in October. Students who previously attempted the test but did not pass may retest during this administration as well. Students are offered two GHSWT additional test windows each year, one in February and the other during the summer. Passing the test is a requirement for graduation.

The scale score range for the GHSWT is 100 to 350. A scale score of 200 is required for passing and is one criterion for diploma eligibility. Writing scores are also reported in the following performance levels: Does Not Meet (100-199), Meets (200-249), and Exceeds (250-350).

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