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Monday February 8th, 2016 3:56PM

Gainesville, Hall schools top state avg. on writing test

By Ken Stanford Reporter
GAINESVILLE - The Gainesville and Hall County school systems topped the state average on the latest statewide writing test, according to figures provided Friday morning by state Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza.

Of the high school students in the two systems who took the test, 95 percent of them in each system passed.

Breaking that down school-by-school:

Chestatee 96 percent
Lanier Career Academy 70 percent
West Hall 96 percent
Flowery Branch 97 percent
East Hall 89 percent
North Hall 98 percent
Johnson 95 percent

Woods Mill Academy 90 percent
Gainesville High 95 percent

Among other school systems in the immediate Gainesville area:

Banks 93 percent
Barrow 96 percent
Dawson 94 percent
Forsyth 99 percent
Gwinnett 98 percent
Habersham 92 percent
Jackson 94 percent
Lumpkin 97 percent
White 95 percent

Buford 100 percent
Commerce 89 percent
Jefferson 96 percent

Statewide, the percentage of high school students meeting or exceeding standards on the Georgia High School Writing Test increased this year, with 93 percent passing the exam.

That's up from 91 percent passing the exam last year and 88 percent in 2007, when the current, more rigorous assessment was first introduced. What's more, state school officials say, minority and special education students are improving their performance on the test at a higher rate than white students, narrowing the achievement gap.

"This is yet another example of how more and more Georgia students are meeting the higher expectations we have set for them," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "Writing is a critical skill in every career, and these scores show that more of Georgia's students are being prepared for success after high school."

Students must pass the test to receive a high school diploma, and can take it several times in their junior and senior years. Students can score up to 350 points, with 200 points required to pass the test.

Highlights from the fall administration of the Georgia High School Writing Test:

*Ninety-three (93) percent of all students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a 2 percentage point increase from 91 percent in 2011.

*Since the inception of the GHSWT as a GPS-based test in 2007, the percentage of all students meeting or exceeding the standard for the test has increased by 5 percentage points from 88 percent in 2007 to 93 percent in 2012.

*The achievement gap between black and white students meeting or exceeding the standard has decreased by 4 percentage points from 10 percent to 6 percent. Gains were made by both groups, but gains made by black students exceeded those made by white students. Ninety (90) percent of black students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a 3 percentage point increase from 87 percent in 2011.

*The achievement gap between Hispanic and white students meeting or exceeding the standard has decreased by 8 percentage points from 13 percent to 5 percent. Gains were made by both groups, but gains made by Hispanic students exceeded those made by White students. Ninety-one (91) percent of Hispanic students met or exceeded the standard for the test, a 2 percentage point increase from 89 percent in 2011.

*The achievement gap between special education grade 11 first-time test takers and all grade 11 first-time test takers meeting or exceeding the standard has decreased by 11 percentage points from 34 percent to 23 percent. Seventy-two (72) percent of special education grade eleven first-time test-takers met or exceeded the standard for the test, a 6 percentage point increase from 66 percent in 2011.
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