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Graduation Test Scores Increase in English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies (Updated 6/6/11)

 MEDIA CONTACT:  Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,  - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook     State-level Results   System-level Results   School-level Results    May 12, 2011  -- Results of the 2011 Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) show student scores increased in all content areas where there is historical data - science, social studies and English language arts. Because this is the first year the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards (GPS)-based mathematics GHSGT was given, there is no historical data to compare from year to year in that content area.   "The results of the 2011 GHSGT are very encouraging,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "These scores give us a good indicator that students and teachers continue to rise to the challenge of a more rigorous curriculum.”   The percentage of students passing the English language arts GHSGT (91%) increased one percentage point from 2010. In science, 93% of students passed the test, an increase of three percentage points from last year. Finally, in social studies, 80% of students passed the GHSGT, a two percentage point increase over last year’s results.   For the first time this year, the GHSGT in mathematics is GPS-based. On the mathematics exam, 84% of students passed, an expected decrease from last year’s Quality Core Curriculum-based exam (91%).   In March 2011, the State Board of Education approved Superintendent Barge’s recommendation to allow school districts to teach math with an integrated or discrete delivery method.   "We know many students have struggled with the integrated approach to mathematics,” said Superintendent Barge. “A one-size-fits-all approach is not in the best interest of all of our students, but high expectations and our rigorous curriculum are right for all of them. We expected a decline in results for the math portion of the GHSGT, but based on feedback from school districts, we anticipated a more dramatic decline.”    Project ExPreSS Offered for Students Needing Remediation in Mathematics   The  Exam Preparation for Student Success (ExPreSS)  program is a free, two-week summer remediation program for Georgia public high school juniors who were first-time test-takers this year and did not pass the mathematics portion of the GHSGT.    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 high school. Students can retake the GHSGT as many times as needed to pass the exams.   Since 2005, the state has been implementing the Georgia Performance Standards, 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 GPS.   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 transitioned to a GPS test in spring 2010, and the mathematics exam transitioned to the GPS for the first time this spring.   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.   At their April 2011 meeting, the State Board of Education approved Superintendent Barge's recommendation to phase out the GHSGT beginning with students entering ninth grade for the first time in 2011. For details about the phase-out plan, visit .     MORE INFORMATION:    Charts and Graphs   Project ExPreSS