COVINGTON -- More Newton County students are passing the Georgia High School Writing Test, which must be passed in order for them to graduate.
The Newton County School System announced Friday that 95 percent of all of its 11th-grade students taking the test for the first time passed the test they took earlier this school year. Last year, 90 percent of first-time test-takers passed the writing test in NCSS.
"This is good news we can build on, as writing is so essential to a truly educated student," said Gary Mathews, superintendent of Newton County Schools, in a press release. "Given the significant improvements needed now in our college-readiness indicators of ACT and SAT, these GHSGT writing scores are most encouraging, and I trust a precursor to improved results in the future. Kudos to our students and faculty."
Students are required to pass all components of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, including writing, in order to receive a diploma in Georgia.
The GHSWT is a persuasive writing assignment that students have 100 minutes to complete. They are assessed in four domains: ideas, organization, style and conventions.
NCSS reported an overall pass rate of 94 percent, which is the same as the state's pass average. A total of 1,191 students took the test in NCSS this semester.
"Our students are to be commended for their efforts," said Dr. Carl Skinner, NCSS director of Testing, Research and Evaluation.
Each of Newton County's three high schools posted gains on pass rates this year for students taking the test for the first time, with each school having an overall pass rate of 95 percent.
Alcovy High School saw the largest increase -- increasing from 89 percent. Nearly 400 AHS students took the test this year.
Eastside High School's average increased from 94 percent. For the past six years, EHS has had more than 90 percent of first-time test-takers pass the writing test. More than 315 EHS students took the test this semester.
Newton High School also posted significant gains on the writing test by increasing from 90 percent. More than 450 NHS students took the test this year.
Students who did not pass the test have a chance to retake it in February and again over the summer or next school year. There is no limit on the number of times a student can retake the test.
The main administration of the GHSGT, which tests students in science, math, social studies and English language arts, will be given to 11th-graders in March. Students have multiple opportunities to take and retake the tests during the school year and over the summer before they are scheduled to graduate on time.