NCSS students improve on EOCT, but math difficult
Newton County School System high school students outperformed the state average in three areas on End of Course Tests during the 2012-13 school year, but EOCT results show that math is still a difficult subject for NCSS students, and students throughout the state.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Newton County’s high school students participated in nine End-of-Course Tests. The EOCTs are one measure of high school success for accountability purposes on the new College and Career Ready Performance Index and also account for a percentage of a student’s course grade, according to NCSS officials.
The Georgia Department of Education released EOCT results on Wednesday, and preliminary test data provided by the state show that NCSS high school students surpassed state averages in three areas of 201213 school year EOCTs, matched state scores in two areas, and posted a two-point decline in one area.
According to a news release from the NCSS, students outpaced the state in physical science, economics, and U.S. history; and matched the state in 9th Grade Literature and Math II. NCSS students also increased pass rates on five of the seven tests in 2013, including: 9th Grade Literature; physical science; U.S. History; Economics; and Math II.
However, in both the state and Newton County, students did not perform well on the new Coordinate Algebra exam.
According to NCSS officials, 2013 marked the first year for the Coordinate Algebra test, replacing the Math I portion of the tests. As expected, scores across the state were low. All three Newton high schools scored below the state average on the test.
In Coordinate Algebra, Alcovy High School students had a score of 19 (with 496 students tested); Eastside had a score of 29 (with 314 students tested); and Newton’s average score was a 14 (with 527 students tested) compared with the state average of 37.
In Math I, Alcovy had an average score of 13 (with 71 students tested); Eastside had an average score of 29 (with 42 students tested); and Newton had an average of 14 (with 63 students tested) compared with the state average of 29. According to the release, a small number of students participated in Math I because the test was offered only to satisfy graduation requirements for those students.
In Math II, Alcovy scored a 55 (with 469 students tested); Eastside had a score of 76 (with 302 students tested); and Newton had an average of 53 (with 479 students tested) compared with the state Math II average of 59.
NCSS superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said mathematics continues to be an area in need of more focused attention. She said since 2013 was the first year for the Coordinate Algebra EOCT, the new curriculum required teachers to adjust their teaching techniques to reflect the increased rigor.
“The curriculum and exam required students to move from recalling facts and plugging numbers into formulas to understanding and identifying mathematical concepts,” Fuhrey said, “The Coordinated Algebra test is not the typical multiple choice exam experienced in the past.”
Fuhrey added that the 2014 school year will see the addition of Analytic Geometry, and she said that school leaders are working to ensure students experience greater success. She also said Math II will be phased out in 2014.