Empowering Dreams for the Future

CCSD News and Announcements
For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
April 18, 2011
Jay Dillon (770) 426-3345

Cobb Eighth Grade Writing Test Scores Climb
89 Percent of Eighth Graders Meet or Exceed Standards

The percentage of Cobb County eighth graders meeting and exceeding standards on the 2011 Eighth Grade Writing Assessment has increased to 89 percent, up from 85 percent in 2010.

The 2011 results show Cobb students continued to easily outperform statewide scores, and performed higher than the average of a comparison group of 12 metro Atlanta districts. The district-wide average scale score for Cobb eighth graders remained steady at 219, six points higher than the state average and one point higher than the comparison group average. The overall percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards is seven points higher than the statewide percentage and two points higher than the comparison group. (See Table I).

Students with Disabilities (SWD) and English Language Learners (ELL), two student subgroups that help determine Adequate Yearly Progress under Federal law, once again demonstrated consistent improvement in their writing performance. The current average score for SWD indicates a 12-point increase since 2007, while the percentage of SWD meeting or exceeding standards has increased by 23 percentage points over the same period. Average scale scores for the English Language Learners have increased by 19 points since 2007, while the percentage of ELL students meeting or exceeding standards increased from 30 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2010 (Charts I, II).

Teachers in Cobb’s 25 middle schools have put an increased emphasis on writing over the past several years, collaborating across subject areas to help students improve. For example, many math teachers have implemented math journals into the curriculum, requiring students to write about the problem-solving process. At Lindley Middle School in Mableton, students submit their compositions to be scored electronically and receive specific feedback about how to improve their writing skills. Teachers use color-coding to identify key components of a paragraph and to focus students on the domain of ideas, which accounts for 40 percent of the 8th Grade Writing Assessment.

A majority of Cobb middle schools scored above the state average score of 213, with scores ranging from 202 to 240. Schools with the highest scores are Dickerson (240), Dodgen (236), and Hightower Trail (231). The number of Cobb Middle schools with more than 90 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards almost doubled in comparison to last year, with Barber, Daniell, Dickerson, Dodgen, Durham, Hightower Trail, Lindley, Lost Mountain, Lovinggood, Mabry, McCleskey, McClure, and Simpson meeting the mark.

While Cobb’s overall scores are strong and continue to grow, there is concern and focus within the District to assist those students who are not yet meeting the state standards. Special populations such as Special Education and English Language Learners continue to be of particular concern. While consistent gains have been made by both subgroups, a significant gap between these subgroups and regular program students remains. (Table II).

The Eighth Grade Writing Assessment is a portion of the statewide testing program that provides a measure for writing skills. Results are based on the eighth graders performance for preparing a written composition when given an assigned topic. Results of this measure help students, teachers, and parents identify skill areas where improvements may be needed prior to the Georgia High School Graduation Test that occurs junior year.

Trained professionals score each student’s composition using a scale of 1 to 5 to assess four domains. These domains are qualities of effective writing and include ideas, organization, style, and convention. Cobb students performed similarly across all domains. The scale score range for the new Eighth Grade Writing Assessment is 100 to 350. The following performance levels are used for score reporting: Does Not Meet (100-199), Meets (200-249), and Exceeds (250-350).

Click here to view the complete release, with data tables.