Newton juniors outpace state in writing test scores

At a Glance:

2011-12 Georgia High School Writing Test Results

School Pass percentage

Alcovy High School 93 percent

Eastside High School 95 percent

Newton High School 94 percent

Newton County School System 94 percent

State 93 percentCOVINGTON --Scores were down a bit from last year, but Newton County 11th-grade students still outpaced the statewide average on the Georgia High School Writing Test.

According to the results released Monday by the Newton County School System for the 2011-12 school year, 94 percent of the county's 11th-grade students passed the writing test, which is one of the requirements to graduate from high school. A total of 1,080 students took the test in Newton County this semester. Statewide, 93 percent of first-time test takers passed the High School Writing Test.

"I believe it is accurate to say that our high schools have performedverywell this fall on this important measure," Superintendent Gary Mathews said in a written statement.

Last year, 95 percent of the 1,191 students in the Newton County School System that took the test passed. While the passing rate in Newton County dipped 1 point this year, the statewide average fell 2 points from the 2010-11 school year when 95 percent of test-takers passed.

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.

The writing test is offered in the fall of students' junior year in high school and is offered three times a year so students have multiple opportunities to take the test before the end of the 12th grade.

Students are required to pass all components of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, including writing, in order to receive a diploma in Georgia.

For most of the past seven years, Newton County students have outperformed their statewide peers, with the exception of 2009-10 when only 90 percent of first-time test-takers in Newton County passed the test as compared to 91 percent of juniors across the state. The results jumped the following year when 95 percent of Newton County 11th-graders passed the test.

For the second year in a row, each of the county's three high schools performed at virtually the same level. Eastside High School juniors passed at a rate of 95 percent as compared to 94 percent of 11th-graders at Newton High School and 93 percent at Alcovy High School.

Hispanic and white students at Eastside High School showed the strongest scores among subgroups. According to data provided by NCSS, 100 percent of Hispanic students at Eastside and 98 percent of white students passed the writing test.