Newton schools receive average ranking on writing test

COVINGTON — Newton County schools are on par with the state average for the Georgia High School Writing Test, but are ranked slightly lower than the rest of the metro Atlanta region in comparison.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, 94 percent of students in Newton County passed the GHSWT, while the same percentage of Georgia high-schoolers passed on average, and the metro Atlanta average remains at 95 percent. Respective school scores include Alcovy High at 93.4 percent, Eastside High at 95.3 percent, and Newton High with 92.7 percent of students passing.

In relation to last year, GHSWT scores have gone down both for the state and Newton County. In 2012, Georgia’s average passing rate on the exam was 95 percent, while Newton County’s percentage of students who passed was 96.

“Our high schools’ achievement on the Georgia High School Writing Test reflects their continued commitment to excellence,” said Newton County School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey in a press release. “While posting scores in the 90s is no small task, we will continue to work to ensure that all students experience success on the GHSWT.”

According to the Georgia DOE, the GHSWT is an exam to assess students’ ability in persuasive writing. Students are given a certain issue or subject on the exam, and are then instructed to influence the reader to his or her point of view.

Graduation requirements in Georgia have undergone some changes in the past few years. Students who entered the ninth grade after July 1, 2011 must take and pass the GHSWT during their 11th-grade year in order to graduate, as mandated by the Georgia DOE. End of Course Tests are administered at every grade level, and are also required for these students to graduate. EOCTs count for 20 percent final course grades for students who entered after July 1, 2011, and are given in the core areas of math, science, social studies and language arts.

Although students who started high school after July 1, 2011 take the EOCTs and GHSWT to determine graduation eligibility, students who started high school prior to that date have to take and pass the GHSWT in combination with the Georgia High School Graduation Test. EOCTs are not a graduation requirement for students who started high school after that date, but 15 percent of their final course grades are based on their EOCT scores.