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NCSS juniors succeed at grad testing

COVINGTON - The Newton County School System released last week school-level scores from the 2008 Georgia High School Graduation Test, which showed Alcovy and Eastside 11th-grade students performing at or above the state averages and Newton performing below the state.

Students must pass the test before they can receive their high school diplomas.

They first take the test during the spring of their 11th-grade year and have several opportunities to retake the test until their graduation day.

"I am proud of the performance of our 11th-grade students on the GHSGT," said Dr. Sheila Thomas, director of testing for NCSS in a news release. "Our teachers have worked very hard to implement the new Georgia Performance Standards. I want to thank the teachers and students for all of their hard work."

This is the first year English language arts and science were fully aligned to the state's new curriculum, Georgia Performance Standards; math and social studies are still aligned to the old state Quality Core Curriculum.

Results from the test show 91 percent of 11th-grade students in the Newton County School System taking the English language arts portion test for the first time passed the test, compared to the state average of 90 percent. Eastside had 94 percent of those students pass the test, while Alcovy had 91 percent and Newton High had 88.

On the math portion of the test, the county and state averaged a 92 percent pass rate - 95 percent of Eastside's 11th graders passed the test, while 92 percent of Alcovy's students passed and 89 percent of Newton High's students passed.

In science, the county and state tied again with an average pass rate of 86 percent. Eastside had 93 percent of students pass the test, while Alcovy scored on the state level and 79 percent of Newton High School's students passed.

The social studies section of the test had 86 percent of students in the county and state pass the test; 90 percent of Eastside's students passed the test, 87 percent of Alcovy's students passed and 83 percent of students at Newton High passed.

The Newton County School System if offering summer remediation for the GHSGT from 8 a.m. to noon June 30 to July 11 at Eastside High School. The tests will be given again July 14 through 16; Alcovy students will test at their school, and Eastside and Newton students will test at Eastside.

More information about the retest is available on the NCSS Web site, www.newtoncountyschools.org.

Students who continue to fail the test can retake any sections as many times as they wish.

According to the NCSS Director of Public Relations Sherri Viniard, the number of seniors who didn't graduate on time at the conclusion of the 2007-08 school year in May due to failing a portion of the test is "pending."

"If students pass the make-up test in the summer session, they graduate," she said. Viniard was unable to say how many such students failed to graduate with their class, saying the state doesn't require the school system to keep such records.

"Students who have failed more than one test may come back, pass one but still fail one. Then they may take that test again and again and again," she said. "We would have to review each student's test records ... and track each one ... during each testing cycle to see what tests they've passed and what tests they've failed again. We would have to compile all of that information and create a new document, and that would be extremely time consuming."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At A Glance

2008 Georgia High School Graduation Test results for 11th-grade, first-time test takers:

· Alcovy High School

English language arts: 91

Math: 92

Science: 86

Social Studies: 87

· Eastside High School

English language arts: 94

Math: 95

Science: 93

Social Studies: 90

· Newton County High School

English language arts: 88

Math: 89

Science: 79

Social Studies: 83

· Newton County School System

English language arts: 91

Math: 92

Science: 86

Social Studies: 86

· State

English language arts: 90

Math: 92

Science: 86

Social Studies: 86

- Source: Newton County School System