COVINGTON -- More Newton County high school juniors are passing the Georgia High School Writing Test.
The Newton County School System announced Thursday that 96 percent of juniors taking the test for the first time in the fall passed, compared to 95 percent statewide.
In addition to outpacing the state, each school's scores also increased from last year, after dipping some the previous year.
"Our latest writing results further demonstrate the upward trajectory that our public schools have been on when it comes to state assessments," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews. "I am particularly pleased to see writing as strong as it is, given its importance and signal that one is truly educated."
Alcovy's pass average improved by three points in 2012, increasing from a score of 93 in 2011 to a 96 this year. Eastside's scores increased by two points in 2012 to a 97. At Newton High, scores also improved in 2012, going from an average score of 94 to 95 this year.
A total of 1,077 Newton County juniors took the test for the first time this semester, compared to 1,080 students last school year.
The GHSWT is a persuasive writing assignment that students have 100 minutes to complete. Students are asked to produce a response to one on-demand persuasive writing prompt. The writing test requires students to produce a composition of no more than two pages on an assigned topic.
They are assessed in four domains: ideas, organization, style and conventions.
The writing test is offered first in the fall of students' junior year in high school, and students have multiple opportunities to take the test before the end of the 12th grade, when they have to pass it in order to earn a high school diploma in Georgia.
Georgia High School Graduation Tests and End of Course Tests also count toward students' graduation.
"Now, as the state has upped the ante with the new College and Career Readiness Performance Index, we have to begin to significantly translate Georgia results on the CRCTs (Criterion Referenced Competency Tests), EOCTs and GHSGTs into greater results on college-level admission tests, such as the ACT and SAT. But, we're on track to do that over time," Mathews said.
Statewide, scores also improved from 93 percent last year.