Results for the Georgia High School Graduation Tests for first time test takers in 11th grade are in, with Bryan County ranking at or above the average statewide results – and showing improvements over last year’s results.
"First, we look at how we improved over our scores from last year, and then I look at how we scored in comparison to the statewide results," Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer said. "Our principals and teachers work very hard to make sure we are meeting the state curriculum and scoring well on these exams."
In Bryan County, 406 students took the graduation tests in English Language Arts, math, science and social students.
Specifically, 90 percent of Bryan County 11th graders who took the English Language Arts (ELA) test passed, matching the overall results for Georgia. Math results were even better, with 96 percent of Bryan County students passing, beating the 92 percent average and 91 percent of local 11th graders passed the science and social studies tests, compared to 86 percent of students in the statewide results.
Associate Superintendent John Oliver said, in comparison to last year, ELA results went down four percent, math and social studies went up four percent and science went up 16 percent.
He said the school system can attribute these positive results with a number of things:
"Students are giving their best efforts, they have supportive parents and quality teachers and staff all the way up – because students do not learn everything they need to know to pass the GHSGT in the 11th grade alone," he said. "And Bryan County students can hold their own in relationship to students in surrounding school systems."
This year was the first time ELA and science were fully associated with the state’s new curriculum for the Georgia Performance Standards. The Georgia Department of Education said the new tests include "more rigorous material" and "call for higher order thinking." They are scored at four levels: below proficiency, basic proficiency, advanced proficiency and honors. Scoring with advanced proficiency or above is an indicator that the student is able to do college level work without help.
Less than 10 percent of the county’s test takers were below proficiency in ELA or science and more than 42 percent tested with advanced proficiency in ELA and more than 43 percent in science. More than 12 percent tested with honors in both ELA and science.
State Superintendent Kathy Cox said the overall results are good news for Georgia, noting that this shows most students have the basic knowledge required to graduate from high school.
"These exams are definitely more challenging," Cox said. "It’s clear that our teachers are doing a great job delivering a more focused and engaging curriculum that sets high expectations for all students."
The social studies GHSGT will be aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards in 2010 and the math test will be in 2011.
Oliver said the new state curriculum is going to be the focus in both high schools as it is implemented in these two courses. He pointed out math is unique in that the courses are sequential.
Individual school's GHSGT results will be released May 23.