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Local students score high on state graduation exam
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Graduation test results
Pass rates for first-time test takers

English 96
Math 96
Science 95
Social studies 81
Percent of students passing all portions 80

East Hall
English: 91
Math: 94
Science: 95
Social studies: 71
Percent of students passing all portions 67

Flowery Branch
English 95
Math 96
Science 94
Social Studies 85
Percent of students passing all portions 83

English 95
Mathematics 97
Science 96
Social Studies 83
Percent of students passing all portions 84

English 93
Math 95
Science 91
Social Studies 89
Percent of students passing all portions 82

North Hall
English 98
Math 97
Science 94
Social Studies 85
Percent of students passing all portions 84

West Hall
English 90
Math 93
Science 92
Social studies 75
Percent of students passing all portions 71

Hall County systemwide
English 94
Math 95
Science 94
Social studies 82
Percent of students passing all portions 79

English 89
Math 91
Science 91
Social studies 78
Percent of students passing all portions 74

Hall County and Gainesville students surpassed the state average in all areas of the Georgia High School Graduation Test for another year.

Juniors tested in English, math, science and social studies, and 79 percent of Hall County system students passed all four sections as compared to 74 percent of those in the state, Superintendent Will Schofield reported Tuesday.

Students at Gainesville High School also performed better than the state average with 84 percent passing all four sections, Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

Students take the test during their junior year in order to achieve passing results before graduation. Those who fail sections of the test can receive additional instruction for the concepts required for a diploma in the state.

“A significant part of this test is that it is designed to give an accounting of how well students have learned the content in four content areas over a period of time, not for a single course but for several courses over several years,” said Eloise Barron, Hall County’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “It’s reflective of what they learned in ninth, 10th and 11th grades.”

Schofield said test scores for first-time test takers also are a major factor in determining Adequate Yearly Progress for high schools, an important federal benchmark.

For Hall County schools, the English and language arts section scores increased to 94 percent from 92 percent passing last year, and the science section increased to 94 percent from 92 as well. Scores once again were lowest for the social studies section. Barron said the next step is to analyze why students consistently miss certain areas.

“For the individuals who failed the test, we have to look at the domains in which they failed and figure out what areas they’re weak in,” she said. “What’s difficult about going down to specific areas of weakness is that the graduation tests are cumulative over several courses, so it’s hard to go back and pinpoint which courses are failing.”

At Gainesville High School, English scores also increased while social studies scores dropped.

“This kind of test uses a different group of students each year, so we also have to look at those students and how they progress over time to tell the areas we were pleased with,” Dyer said. “So it’s not as helpful to compare last year’s scores to this year’s, but we’re pleased with the English scores, and they improved a good bit in science.”

This group of juniors in particular has had trouble with standardized testing in science since middle school, Dyer said.

“This is affirming to us to see the students go from eighth grade to higher scores this time,” she said. “We’ve shored up our science instruction and filled in the gaps.”

Hall students who fail sections of the test must attend a program held at Flowery Branch High School during the summer to tutor students to retake specific sections at the end of the summer.

“Last summer was the first time this was done, and it had a nice success rate,” Barron said. The program is sponsored by the state Department of Education and pulls in teachers from Hall County and surrounding areas to teach specific sections.

This year was the first time the graduation test used new Georgia Performance Standards statewide for the social studies section.

Scores in this section dropped statewide.

“This is an area we want to improve on the test, but we also want to look at the reason why statewide the test was different,” Dyer said. “We do know from standardized tests that start to finish, one problem area that shows up in several grade levels is economics. Whether its for vocabulary or concepts, it’s an area we need to work on.”

Although Georgia Performance Standards changed the nature of the test, Gainesville and Hall County schools will continue to look for improvement in that area.

“Social studies is always one of the areas where we struggle, and the state saw a decline there,” Barron said. “For next year, we focus like a laser on the Georgia Performance Standards.”

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