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Fifth-graders score below state in writing test

CONYERS - According to the 2007-08 Georgia fifth-grade writing assessment results released by the Newton County School System on Monday, the system scored below both state and regional averages.

The system's percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards - or passing the test - was 71 percent, while the state's was 77 percent and the region's was 81 percent.

On the test, which students took in early March, students were assessed in four categories: ideas, organization, style and

convention. The exam gave students one of three types of writing topics to choose from, which they did not know ahead of time - narrative, persuasive or expository.

The scores are an improvement from last year's results.

In 2007, 68 percent of Newton County students received a "meets or exceeds standards" result on the test. The state percentage was 70.

"Our schools have worked diligently to improve students' writing skills in a number of genres," said Dr. Ken Proctor, director of elementary curriculum for NCSS in a prepared statement. "I am very pleased about the gains posted by our schools and hope to continue to see similar trends in subsequent years."

Seven of the 12 NCSS elementary schools increased their pass percentage rates from last school year, with three of the schools - Middle Ridge, Oak Hill and Porterdale - improving in the double digits. Middle Ridge improved from 38 to 61 percent of students passing the exam; Oak Hill from 64 to 83 percent; and Porterdale improved from 65 to 78 percent.

"I am so excited about the tremendous gains made at Middle Ridge, Oak Hill and Porterdale. The teachers and students did an excellent job," said Dr. Shelia Thomas, director of testing for NCSS, in the statement from the school system. "I would like to congratulate the fifth graders for all of their hard work."

The results count toward each school's Adequate Yearly Progress, which if not made repeatedly, could put them on the state's Needs Improvement list.

Porterdale did not meet AYP for the second consecutive year last school year, and Oak Hill failed to meet AYP for the first year; Middle Ridge made AYP last school year, but failed to meet it for the three prior years.

Other testing scores also determine the school's AYP status.

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

SideBar: Test results

2007-08 Newton County Fifth-Grade Writing Assessment Results

School 2007-08 2006-07

East Newton

77

79

Fairview

65

71

Ficquett

68

67

Heard-Mixon

75

69

Livingston

67

68

Mansfield

88

79

Middle Ridge

61

38

Oak Hill

83

64

Palmer Stone

76

77

Porterdale

78

65

Rocky Plains

59

54

West Newton

67

76

NCSS

71

68

Georgia

77

70

Source: Newton County School System