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Graduation Test Scores Continue to Improve (updated 6/8)

 MEDIA CONTACT :  - GaDOE Communications office, (404) 463-1487, dtofig@gadoe.org  - Follow us on Twitter  @GaDOEnews   NOTE:  -  System-level scores  are available as of 5/28/09 -  School-level scores  are available as of 6/8/09   May 13, 2009  -- Georgia's high school students continue to show steady progress on the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT), including the science and English exams that are aligned to the state's more rigorous curriculum. State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox released the statewide results at today's State Board of Education meeting.     The percentage of students meeting standards on the GHSGT rose from the previous year in all four subject areas; mathematics, science, English language arts, and social studies. The pass rate on the science exam rose two points to 88 percent and on the English language arts exam rose one point to 90 percent.     "The results of the 2009 GHSGT show that our students continue to make steady progress in all areas of the curriculum," Superintendent Cox said. "This is especially noteworthy in the areas of science and English language arts, which are fully aligned to our new curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards."     Superintendent Cox pointed out that the percentage of students performing at the very highest level on the English language arts and science exams rose significantly from 2008. On the science GHSGT, 15 percent of the students scored at the "honors" level, an increase of three points from 2008. On the English language arts GHSGT, 14 percent of the students scored at the honors level, an increase of four points from 2008.     "These exams are more rigorous and require students to demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the subject, but student achievement continues to rise in these areas," Superintendent Cox said. "The credit belongs to the teachers, students and school leaders who are working very hard to fully implement the new Georgia Performance Standards."     Superintendent Cox was also pleased that scores increased in most subgroups when compared to 2008. For instance:     - The pass rate for Students with Disabilities rose three points to 55 percent on the science GHSGT and rose four points to 63 percent on the mathematics GHSGT.     - The pass rate for English Language Learners rose six points to 59 percent on the English language arts GHSGT and 11 points to 62 percent on the social studies GHSGT.     - The pass rate for Hispanic students rose on all four tests and the pass rate for African American students rose on the social studies and mathematics exams.    ABOUT THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TESTS      The GHSGT are given to high school students for the first time in the spring of their junior year. All four portions of the test, plus the Georgia High School Writing Test, must be passed in order for a student to receive a full diploma from a Georgia public school. Students can retake the GHSGT as many times as they like if they do not pass specific exams.     Since 2005, the state has been implementing the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), a more rigorous and focused curriculum in the core areas of mathematics, English language arts, social studies and science. As the curriculum is phased in, the state's tests are being aligned to match the curriculum.     Since the GHSGT assess cumulative knowledge, the new curriculum must be in place for three years before the exams can be fully aligned to the GPS. The science and English language arts GHSGT were aligned to the GPS for the first time in spring, 2008. The social studies exam will transition to a GPS test in spring, 2010 and the mathematics exam will transition in spring, 2011.     The new, GPS-aligned tests are graded on four scoring levels – below proficiency, basic proficiency, advanced proficiency and honors. The tests aligned to the old curriculum are scored on three levels – did not pass, pass and pass plus.    Charts and Graphs   GHSGT Testing Brief   High School Writing Test Results    System-level scores   School-level scores