State re­leases district-level EOCT scores

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­news.com

District-level scores were re­leased by the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (GADOE) for 2014 End-of-Course Tests (EOCT), show­ing New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS) stu­dents out­paced the state pass rate on six out of eight tests and im­proved pass rates on five of six tests from last year.

Al­though NCSS high school stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in eight EOCTs this year, only re­sults from six tests can be com­pared to tests from the 2012-2013 school year. Not enough stu­dents took the Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture test in spring 2013 to pro­duce a pass rate cal­cu­la­tion, and the an­a­lytic ge­om­e­try test was not ad­min­is­tered last year.

When look­ing at the six com­pa­ra­ble tests, NCSS stu­dents showed an 83 per­cent rate of im­prove­ment on EOCTS for the 2013-2014 school year. In­creased pass rates were posted for ninth-grade lit­er­a­ture, co­or­di­nate al­ge­bra, bi­ol­ogy, U.S. his­tory and eco­nom­ics. Pass rates for phys­i­cal sci­ence re­mained the same as last year, and NCSS data ac­counted that test into the 83 per­cent.

NCSS pass rates were higher than the state rates on all of the EOCT ex­cept co­or­di­nate al­ge­bra and an­a­lytic ge­om­e­try. Twenty-nine per­cent of stu­dents met or ex­ceeded stan­dards for the co­or­di­nate al­ge­bra test, and 30 per­cent passed the an­a­lytic ge­om­e­try test.

The high­est pass rate came from the Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture test, where 94 per­cent of stu­dents met or ex­ceeded stan­dards, fol­lowed by ninth-grade lit­er­a­ture and eco­nom­ics tests, which both had 90 per­cent pass rates.

“I am pleased with the growth our stu­dents have shown this year,” said NCSS Su­per­in­ten­dent Samantha Fuhrey. “Our high school teach­ers, lead­ers and staff have fo­cused their work, and our stu­dents have re­sponded by con­tin­u­ing to post im­proved scores.”

Any stu­dent en­rolled in and/or re­ceiv­ing credit for an EOCT course, re­gard­less of grade level, is re­quired to take the EOCT upon com­ple­tion of that course, ac­cord­ing to the GADOE. EOCTs align with Ge­or­gia’s state-man­dated con­tent stan­dards and in­clude as­sess­ment of spe­cific con­tent knowl­edge and skills. They pro­vide data to eval­u­ate the ef­fec­tive­ness of class­room in­struc­tion at the school, sys­tem and state lev­els. In 2011-2012, the EOCT be­came Ge­or­gia’s high school ac­count­abil­ity as­sess­ment as part of the Col­lege and Ca­reer Ready Per­for­mance In­dex (CCRPI).

A stu­dent’s fi­nal grade in a course sub­ject with a re­quired EOCT is cal­cu­lated us­ing the EOCT as per the State Board Rule 160-42.13. For stu­dents en­rolled in ninth grade for the first time be­fore July 1, 2011, the EOCT counts as 15 per­cent of the fi­nal grade. For stu­dents en­rolled in ninth grade for the first time on or af­ter July 1, 2011, the EOCT counts as 20 per­cent of the fi­nal grade.

“Our high school team and stu­dents are to be com­mended for their tenac­ity and con­cen­trated ef­forts,” Fuhrey said. “Our fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity can be proud of our im­prove­ments as they demon­strate our con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to our non-ne­go­tiable goals of ‘more ef­fec­tive teach­ing and in­creased stu­dent achieve­ment.’

“It’s im­por­tant to note that we are not sat­is­fied with these re­sults as it’s our mis­sion to pro­vide ‘ed­u­ca­tional ex­cel­lence for all stu­dents.’ We’re not there yet, but we are on the way. We will con­tinue to strate­gize, en­gage our par­ents and com­mu­nity and work dili­gently to im­prove our stu­dent out­comes. Fi­nally, the ‘ex­ceeds the stan­dard’ cat­e­gory has in­creased as well. Not only are more stu­dents ‘meet­ing the stan­dard’ in high school, but more are also ‘ex­ceed­ing the stan­dard.’ The ex­ceeds data be­comes im­por­tant given the new (and more rig­or­ous) Ge­or­gia Mile­stones as­sess­ments that will be ad­min­is­tered in the spring of 2015.”

This is the last time stu­dents will be given EOCTs, as NCSS and the rest of the state tran­si­tions to Ge­or­gia Mile­stones, a new test­ing sys­tem that will re­place both EOCTs and CRCTs (Cri­te­rion Ref­er­enced Com­pe­tency Tests) for grades three-eight. The new sys­tem is con­sis­tent across all grades in­stead of a se­ries of in­di­vid­ual tests and will be ad­min­is­tered com­pletely on­line by the fifth year, with some ex­cep­tions for cer­tain stu­dents. Ge­or­gia Mile­stones is ex­pected to be harder, which should pro­duce lower scores ini­tially.

Ac­cord­ing to GADOE, school-level EOCT data should be re­leased later this month.

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