FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County students are leading the pack. Again.
According to results released by the Georgia Department of Education, 11thgrade first-time test takers in the local school system posted the highest marks on last year’s Georgia High School Writing Test.
With 2,741 Forsyth students taking the writing test, 99.2 percent passed, earning a mean writing scale score of 232.41, according to state figures. The district topped both state averages, which were a 96.5 percent pass rate and 224.91 mean score.
“Our teachers and support staff are doing a phenomenal job preparing our students with college and career-ready skills, and this assessment confirms our progress,” said Superintendent Jeff Bearden. “Writing skills are critical to life success, and our students are working hard to master this knowledge.”
The district ranked sixth out of 189 overall in mean score, but those with a higher score had a wide range of test takers, from 10 to 505.
A+ for Lambert
Every high school in the system, including the iAchieve Virtual Academy, scored a higher pass rate and mean score than the state, with Lambert High leading the way with a 234.36 mean score.
South Forsyth High followed closely behind with a mean score of 234.28, with 99.8 percent of its test takers passing.
Both Lambert and iAchieve saw 100 percent of its test takers pass the writing assessment.
“It is almost unheard of for a school the size of Lambert to have 100 percent of their students pass a state assessment, particularly the … writing test,” Bearden said.
Just 28 of 465 schools in the state had 100 percent of its test takers pass, according to the state figures. Of those 28, eight tested more than 100 students. Lambert had 677 students take the state writing assessment, with the next highest number being 311.
Pass rates improved on the writing assessment statewide, rising from 94 percent in 2013, according to the state.
Each subgroup whose performance was measured — Asian, black, Hispanic, white, special-education and English learning students — increased their percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards.
So long, EOCTs
The test marked the last full administration of the state assessment.
Beginning with finals this school year, students’ writing will be assessed through the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.
Georgia Milestones will take the place of the CRCT in third through eighth grades and the EOCTs in high school, becoming End of Grade and End of Course assessments.
EOC-tested courses for high school semester finals include: American literature; analytic geometry; biology; coordinate algebra; economics; ninth grade literature; physical science; and U.S. history.
“As we transition to a new assessment system, students will still be required to show their writing proficiency, but they will participate in one comprehensives testing program, rather than a series of individual tests,” said State School Superintendent John Barge.
Rather than simply filling in a bubble on multiple choice questions, students will also be asked open-ended questions in language arts and mathematics assessments that require a written response explaining why they chose an answer.
While state board rules require EOC test results to count as 20 percent of a student’s final grade for that course, that rule has been waived because scores will not be released in time due to it being the first implementation of Georgia Milestones.
“Forsyth County will instead be giving a final exam for the eight EOC-tested courses,” said Susan Norce, assessment coordinator for the district. “This final exam will be weighted the same as other final exams in non-state tested courses. After this year, the EOC assessment will count as 20 percent of a student’s final grade.”
The delay in scores is expected to be caused by first-time technical work in scoring the assessments throughout the state, including setting achievement expectations.