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Students to be tested on writing

COVINGTON — High school juniors are scheduled on Wednesday to take the first part of a series of tests they must pass to receive a high school diploma in Georgia.

On Wednesday, the main administration of the Georgia High School Writing Test will be given to juniors for the first time, as well as seniors who have yet to take the test and students who have previously failed the test.

2010-11 School Year Schedule of Georgia High School Graduation Tests

Sept. 29 - writing

Sept. 30 - writing makeup

Feb. 23 - writing retest

Feb. 24 - writing retest makeup

March 21 - English/language arts

March 22 - math

March 23 - social studies

March 24 - science

March 25 - March tests makeup

July 11-13 - all makeups

"Passing the Georgia High School Writing assessment is a requirement to earn a regular education diploma," said Laura Grimwade, director of Research, Assessment & Accountability in Rockdale County Public Schools. "Students who are identified as 11th-graders take the test in the fall of their junior year. This allows multiple opportunities for students to successfully complete the test prior to graduation."

Students have 100 minutes to take the test — it is recommended they spend 15 minutes for planning and pre-writing, 35 minutes for drafting, 25 minutes for revising and editing, 20 minutes to write their final draft and five minutes for proofreading.

Students must score at least a 200 on a scale of 100 to 250 to meet expectations and pass the test.

"(Students) need to take this test seriously and try their best. It is vital," said Carl Skinner, director of Testing, Research & Evaluation for the Newton County School System. "We want to make sure every student who is entitled to take the test takes it, because the writing test is only given three times a year."

Students who miss Wednesday's test will be allowed to make it up Thursday.

Results should be back to students in mid-November.

Makeups for the Georgia High School Writing Test for students who miss the test or who have previously failed the test are scheduled for Feb. 23, with a retake on Feb. 24 and July 13.

Juniors for the first time will get to take remaining portions of the state-required Georgia High School Graduation Tests from March 21 to 24, when they will be tested in English/language arts, math, social studies and science.

The fifth-grade writing test is scheduled for March 2 with a makeup day on March 3. Third-grade writing tests will be given in late March.