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County grad test scores continue to climb

POSTED: July 10, 2007 5:02 a.m.

Preliminary results from the high school graduation test show Effingham County students have made significant gains on the science and social studies portions of the test.

In the system of 667 11th graders taking the test for the first time 92 percent passed the social studies portion. In the 2006 school year, 85 percent of students taking the test for the first time passed and 82 percent passed in 2005.

On the science portion of the test there were 666 students who took the test for the first time. 78 percent of those students passed the science portion of the test. In 2006 72 percent of first time test takers passed, and in 2005 68 percent of first time test takers passed.

“Social studies and science, as far as the high school graduation test, has been an area that we’ve been trying to focus on for some time,” Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff said. “I think the real difference is the focus that we’ve had on individual students and looking at how they may fair and using predictor tests in order to get those students some additional assistance.”

Juniors at both schools were given the predictor test in science and social studies last fall. The students then took the high school graduation test in the spring.

“This is a local cost,” Arnsdorff said. “We purchase the tests and have it scored at the University of Georgia. The schools have been using it and have been very happy with the results.”

He said the predictor test is helpful in getting students the help they need to perform well on the high school graduation test. There are plans to give the predictor test to sophomores.

“We feel it’s a useful tool to help us get 10th graders some assistance early on, and 11th graders that last ditch effort to pass the test on the first go around,” Arnsdorff said.

He said students have multiple opportunities to take the test before they graduate.

“But it’s really not tied to a class or a teacher,” Arnsdorff said. “It’s a cumulative type test. It’s been important for us to build, as Yancey (Ford, principal for Effingham County High School) says, a relationship with the student. We need
to understand each child’s particular needs. I think particularly at ECHS this year, because of their needs improvement status, they have made a conscientious effort to do that, and I think we see results not only with the high school graduation test results, but also with the graduation rate.”

Of ECHS students who took the science portion of the predictor test, 57 percent were predicted to pass, 26 percent were predicted to fail and 18 percent were predicted to be borderline.

Ninety-two percent of those predicted to pass did so, and 36 percent of the students predicted to fail passed. Of the borderline students, 77 percent passed the science portion of the test.

Seventy-three percent of the ECHS students taking the predictor test in social studies were projected to pass, while 10 percent were predicted to fail and 16 percent were predicted to be borderline.

Of the students projected to pass the test 98 percent did. Of those projected to fail the test 55 percent passed, and of the students who were considered to be borderline 75 percent passed the social studies portion.

At South Effingham High School, 55 percent were predicted to pass the science portion, with 26 projected to fail and 18 percent judged to be borderline.

Nearly all — 98 percent — of those predicted to pass did. Fifty-nine percent predicted to fail passed and 84 percent of the borderline students also passed the science portion.

In social studies, 74 percent of the students who took the predictor test were predicted to pass, 10 percent were predicted to fail and 17 percent were predicted to be borderline.

Of the students predicted to pass, 99 percent did while of those predicted to fail 74 percent passed. Ninety-five percent of the students shown as borderline passed the social studies portion of the high school graduation test.

The system, Arnsdorff said, has used state funding to provide instruction beyond the regular school day. Each school also may include remedial activities within the school day.

“Each school has its own individual needs, so we don’t have a cookie cutter approach to what works in a particular school,” he said. “The system has always allowed the schools to tailor make their instructional programs to fit their particular student body, their student demographics.”

Students continued to perform well on the language arts and math portions of the tests.

Of 669 students in the system, 97 percent of first-time test takers passed the language arts section, while 96 percent of the 669 first-time test takers of the math portion passed.

The individual schools

Effingham County High School scores

On the language arts portion of the test 97 percent of the first time test takers at ECHS passed. That percentage is up from 96 percent in 2006 and 93 percent in 2005.

On the math section, 95 percent of first-time test takers at ECHS passed. That is compared to 91 percent who passed in 2006 and 93 percent who passed in 2005.

In social studies 90 percent of first-time test takers passed compared to 84 percent in 2006 and 79 percent in 2005.
On the science portion of the test 74 percent of first time test takers passed compared to 71 percent in 2006 and 61 percent in 2005.

South Effingham High School scores

Of the students who took the test for the first time at SEHS 97 percent passed the language arts section. In 2006, 99 percent passed this portion and in 2005, 95 percent passed language arts.

On the math portion of the test, 97 percent of first-time test takers passed — the same percentage that passed in 2006. In 2005, 95 percent of first-time test takers passed this portion of the test.

Of first-time test takers on the social studies portion 94 percent of students at SEHS passed, compared to 86 percent in 2006 and 85 percent in 2005.

On the science portion of the test 83 percent of first-time test takers passed compared to 73 percent 2006 and 75 percent in 2005.

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