COVINGTON -- Preliminary results show that the Newton County School System has outperformed the state in three out of four areas on the Georgia High School Graduation Tests. Additionally, many schools saw gains on the test this year.
NCSS students as a whole posted higher averages than state averages on the science, social studies and English language arts portions of the test given to all 11th-grade students for the first time, according to preliminary data recently released by NCSS. Overall, students scored six points less on the math portion than the state average.
"These results show the path we want to be on -- upward with improvements over last year and ahead of the state," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews in a press release. "It's particularly gratifying to see our students' progress actually outpace that of the state in English and social studies. ... Math continues to be the greatest challenge at the local and state levels, but I am confident in the work being done by our teachers and principals. We will improve in this area, too."
Compared to last school year, NCSS saw increases in three of the four areas; it did not compare math data since it was based on a different state curriculum.
Mathews congratulated teachers, principals, support staff and students for the success, which he said makes system officials optimistic about upcoming test scores.
Data show that 92 percent of students taking the English language arts portion of the test passed, as did 78 percent of those in math, 94 percent in science and 85 percent in social studies. State averages totaled 91 percent for English, 84 percent for math, 93 percent in science and 80 percent for social studies.
Last year, 90 percent of NCSS 11th-graders passed the English section, 91 percent science and 79 percent math.
Eastside High School students outperformed the state in each testing area -- 92 percent of its students passed the English section, 86 percent passed math, 96 percent passed science and 88 percent passed social studies.
Newton High School students posted higher averages than the state in three out of four areas -- 94 percent of students passed English, 95 percent passed science and 86 percent passed social studies, while 76 percent of students passed math.
Alcovy High School students outperformed the state in one area -- social studies, in which 82 percent of students passed. It tied state averages in English with a 91 percent pass rate, while 77 percent of its students passed math and 92 percent passed science.
"Overall, congrats are certainly in order for each of our three high schools," Mathews said.
NCCS reported that Challenge Charter Academy, an independent charter school governed by a separate board of directors that the Georgia Department of Education includes in NCSS averages, did not post any increases on GHSGT pass rates. Overall pass rates for the Academy were 64 percent in English language arts, 67 percent in science and 58 percent in social studies.
Currently, the Georgia Department of Education requires students to pass each of the five tests in order to graduate. The test subject areas include English/language arts, math, social studies and science. The tests are given to 11th-graders for the first time each spring, as well as the Georgia High School Writing Test that is given to 11th-graders for the first time each fall.