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Ga. high school students show improvement on end-of-course tests
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Georgia high school students made slight improvements this year on end-of-course tests in U.S. history, economics, biology, physical science and English, according to new data released Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

In April 2011, the state Board of Education approved a plan to phase out the Georgia High School Graduation tests beginning with the class of 2015. Officials say end-of-course tests, which began in Georgia last year, are a better measure of how much students have learned.

“These reports include only the spring EOCTs,” said Merrianne Dyer, superintendent of Gainesville City Schools. “High school students will conclude the follow-up testing in July and at that time we will have a better overall picture of our summative performance.”

Students showed the biggest gains in economics, with 77 percent passing, up from 72 percent last year. There was a 1 percent decrease in the number of students passing the Mathematics II exam, which includes geometry, Algebra II and statistics. Some 54 percent of students passed that test this year.

“As in all assessments, we are looking at the data, breaking it down into subgroups and by classes, and will use the data for improvement planning,” Dyer said.

Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

System-level results will be available later this month, some time before July 17. School-level results will be available no later than July 31. State School Superintendent John Barge said he was encouraged by the increases.

“End-of-course tests are more rigorous than the Georgia High School Graduation tests, so increases are further testament to the great job our teachers are doing delivering the Georgia Performance Standards to students in a way that they are grasping,” Barge said in a statement.

Some 73 percent of students passed the biology test, up from 70 percent last year; 77 percent passed the physical science test, up from 76 percent, compared to spring 2011.

Some 84 percent passed the ninth-grade literature test, and 89 percent passed American literature and composition, up 2 and 1 percentage points from last year, respectively.

There was an increase in students passing the Mathematics I exam, which includes algebra, geometry and statistics. In this category, 65 percent of students passed, up from 61 percent last year.

Some 63 percent of students passed the algebra test, and 74 percent passed the geometry test. Both were new and not given last year.

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