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Georgia Students Show Positive Gains on High School Writing Test

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org  - Follow us on Twitter and Facebook   December 8, 2010 -- State School Superintendent Brad Bryant today announced that Georgia's students, across all categories, made positive gains on the 2010 Georgia High School Writing Test. Ninety-four (94) percent of all students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a five (5) percentage point increase from eighty-nine (89) percent in 2009.   "Good writing skills are critical to the future success of our students," said Superintendent Bryant. "I am very pleased to see this improvement. Our students, teachers and administrators should be very proud of these results because they are getting the job done under the Georgia Performance Standards."   Georgia law (O.C.G.A. §20-2-281) states, “writing assessments shall be administered to students in grades three, five, eight, and eleven.” The results of the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) are used to identify students who may need additional instruction in academic content and skills considered essential for a high school diploma.   The main administration of the GHSWT is for eleventh or twelfth grade students who are testing for the first time. Students who previously attempted the test but did not pass may retest during this administration as well.   The scale score range for the GHSWT is 100 to 350. A scale score of 200 is required for passing and is one criterion for diploma eligibility. Writing scores are also reported in the following performance levels: Does Not Meet (100-199), Meets (200-249), and Exceeds (250-350). Fall 2010 marks the fourth main administration of the GHSWT based on the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS).   Key Findings   o Ninety-four (94) percent of all students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a five (5) percentage point increase from eighty-nine (89) percent in 2009.  o Since the inception of the Georgia High School Writing Test as a GPS-based test in 2007, the percent of all students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by six (6) percentage points from eighty-eight (88) percent in 2007 to ninety-four (94) percent in 2010.  o Ninety-one (91) percent of Black students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a six (6) percentage point increase from the eighty-five (85) percent in 2009.   o Since the inception of the GHSWT as a GPS-based test, the percent of Black students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by eight (8) percentage points from eighty-three (83) percent in 2007 to ninety-one (91) percent in 2010.   o Ninety-one (91) percent of Hispanic students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a five (5) percentage point increase from eighty-six (86) percent in 2009.   o Since the inception of the GHSWT as a GPS-based test, the percent of Hispanic students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by eleven (11) percentage points from eighty (80) percent in 2007 to ninety-one (91) percent in 2010.   o Ninety-six (96) percent of White students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a three (3) percentage point increase from ninety-three (93) percent in 2009.   o Since the inception of the GHSWT as a GPS-based test, the percent of White students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by three (3) percentage points from ninety-three (93) percent in 2007 to ninety-six (96) percent in 2010.   o Seventy-five (75) percent of Special Education grade eleven first-time test-takers met or exceeded the standard for the test, a fourteen (14) percentage point increase from sixty-one (61) percent in 2009.   o Since the inception of the GHSWT as a GPS-based test, the percent of Special Education grade eleven first-time test-takers meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by twenty (20) percentage points from fifty-five (55) percent in 2007 to seventy-five (75) percent in 2010.   o Seventy-nine (79) percent of English Language Learner grade eleven first-time test-takers met or exceeded the standard for the test, a thirteen (13) percentage point increase from sixty-six (66) percent in 2009.   o Since the inception of the GHSWT as a GPS-based test, the percent of English Language Learner grade eleven first-time test-takers meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by twenty-six (26) percentage points from fifty-three (53) percent in 2007 to seventy-nine (79) percent in 2010.   Key Findings: Closing the GAP   o Improvement was seen by every student group on the 2010 administration of the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) when comparing results to the 2009 administration. Additionally, the change over four years exhibits improved percentages in the number of students meeting or exceeding the standard in every student group. When comparing the 2010 results to 2007, a narrowing of the achievement gap is apparent as illustrated below:   The achievement gap between Black and White students has decreased by five (5) percentage points from 10% to 5%, in terms of the number of students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test.   The achievement gap between Hispanic and White students has decreased by eight (8) percentage points from 13% to 5%, in terms of the number of students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test.   The achievement gap between English Language Learner grade eleven first-time test takers and all grade eleven first-time test takers has decreased by twenty (20) percentage points from 36% to 16%, in terms of the number of students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test.   The achievement gap between Special Education grade eleven first-time test takers and all grade eleven first-time test takers students has decreased by fourteen (14) percentage points from 34% to 20%, in terms of the number of students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test.   More Information:    GHSWT Fall 2010 Testing Brief     State-level Results     System-level Results    School-level Results     Georgia High School Writing Assessment   
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