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For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
May 11, 2011
Jay Dillon (770) 426-3345
Cobb Students Excel on Graduation Test
Scores Improve in Three of Four Subjects; New Math Test Results Strong
Cobb County 11th grade students outperformed their peers on all four portions of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT), and scores improved in three of the four subject areas.
District scores in English/Language Arts (247) were 10 points higher than the state (237) and seven points higher than a comparison group of 10 metro Atlanta school districts. In Math, Cobb students scored 252, 16 points higher than the state (236) and 12 points higher than the comparison group. In Science, Cobb scores topped state scores by eight points (Cobb 251, state 243) and outperformed the comparison group by six points. In Social Studies, Cobb students scored 251, 14 points higher than the state score of 237 and eight points higher than the comparison group score of 243 (See Table I).
Cobb's first time 11th grade test takers had a pass rate of at least 90 percent in three of the four subject areas tested. In both English/Language Arts and Science, Cobb's average district-wide pass rate was 96 percent. Perhaps even more impressive, though, was the district's performance on the new Math test. For the first time, the Math portion of the GHSGT was based on the Georgia Performance Standards rather than the older Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) standards. Math was the last subject to convert to GPS. Any time a new test is implemented state-wide, the common expectation is that scores will drop in the first year. Indeed, the state's average pass rate in Math dropped seven points, and the metro Atlanta comparison group's average pass rate dropped eight points. But in Cobb, the average Math pass rate dropped just one point and remains at a very high level of 93 percent passing.
Science scores showed consistent gains over a five-year period for all student subgroups, with most notable gains by Native American students (41 percent) and Hispanic students (36 percent). Scores for students qualifying as English Language Learners increased 34 percent over the same five-year period, and Special Education students had a gain of 33 percent over five years in Science.
The percentage of students scoring in the Advanced Proficiency or Honors levels on the exams is a good indicator that Cobb students are performing well on the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards. In order to reach these higher levels of performance, students must attain a score that is higher than the minimum scale score needed to simply pass each exam and earn a diploma. In English/Language Arts, 70 percent of Cobb students reached these higher levels; in Math, 67 percent; in Science, 71 percent; and in Social Studies, 56 percent attained them (see Table II).
"We are very pleased with the results of the Georgia High School Graduation Test," said Superintendent Fred Sanderson. "Cobb students continue to distinguish themselves as high performers, and this year's results are very strong. I am especially pleased with the performance on the new Math test. A 93-percent pass rate is outstanding under any circumstance, but to achieve that result on a new test is just tremendous. It speaks to the diligent work of our teachers who got ahead of the new Math implementation and began preparing our students before many others did. Thanks to their efforts, the new standards have been in place in Cobb for some time, and the teachers have been able to focus their attention on the progress of individual students."
Several Cobb schools reached a remarkable milestone with 100 percent of their students meeting or exceeding standards. These include Allatoona High School (English/Language Arts), Pope High School (Mathematics) and Walton High School (Science). Allatoona, Kennesaw Mountain, and Walton high schools were not far behind with 99 percent also passing math (see Table I). At Walton, 80 percent or more reached Advanced Proficiency or Honors level on all four subject tests, closely followed by Lassiter and Pope with at least 75 percent reaching the higher levels of achievement. (See Table II).
Schools use the GHSGT results to determine if students are well-prepared students to graduate and earn a high school diploma. Students who do not succeed on their first attempt have additional opportunities to meet the standards prior to completing 12th grade.
As part of the statewide testing program, 11th grade students are administered the GHSGT each spring. They are tested in four subject areas — English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies — and each section must be passed to earn a Georgia high school diploma. Scores range from 100 to 300 with 200 as a passing score in English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. The scores for Math range from 400 to 600, with 500 as passing. Results for the system, state, metro area (RESA– Regional Educational Service Agencies) and individual schools are listed in Table I. Tables IIIA - IIID provide program summary data for each content area tested.
Click here to read the full release, including data tables for individual high schools.