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Students post top marks on end of course tests
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Effingham County high schools’ state end of course test results place the school system among the highest performing in the region and the state.

"So all in all," said Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff, "considering our standings against the state, our ranking as a school district and our comparisons to our (Regional Educational Service Agency), I think you can be proud of the accomplishments of our high schools and the focus that they’ve given on the state end of course tests and I think you’ll continue to see us trying to edge those numbers upward."

Among the 18 neighboring districts in the 1st District Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), Effingham was in the top three in all of the eight tested content areas and first in ninth grade literature, American literature, U.S. history and physical science. Effingham ranked second among its RESA districts in Economics and Math II, behind Bryan County, and in Math I, trailing Vidalia. In Biology, Effingham ranked third behind Bryan and Glynn counties.

In the 185 school districts in Georgia, Effingham County high schools’ EOCT scores landed it in the top 50 systems in the state. The system hit the top 20 performing districts in U.S. History (15th), Math II (19th) and ninth grade literature (20th). Economics and biology were the county’s lowest rankings against all districts at 44th and 41th, respectively.

"But I’ve got to tell you," said District 2 board member Troy Alford, "from the standpoint of being a board member, that this is a pretty awesome job. Yeah, there might be some room for improvement, but when you start talking about 180 plus districts in this state, that’s a job well done."

Against average scores, Effingham County and South Effingham high school students performed higher than the state

average in every EOCT content area for the 2010-11 school year. The system average pass rate outpaced the state average by 10 percentage points or more in five of the eight content areas. At a 78 percent system pass rate in U.S. history, Effingham scored 16 percent higher than the state. With 72 percent passing in Math II, Effingham was 15 percent higher than the state’s 57 percent average. Math I put Effingham 13 percent passing above the state’s average 60 percent, and in physical science, Effingham’s pass rate was 87 percent, 12 percent higher than the state.

"All the work really happens on the ground in those buildings and we count on our building leadership to carry this forward," said Arnsdorff, acknowledging ECHS Principal Yancy Ford, who was at the Sept. 7 meeting.

District 4 board member Mose Mock sent his praise through Ford to the teachers for their hard work.

"Please take that back to all of the teachers," Mock said. "That’s who’s in the trenches, (from) the leadership on down to how they carry this out."

Over the past five years, pass rates in ninth grade literature have jumped 23 percent and physical acience has since a 21 percent improvement since 2006-07. Economics has improved phenomenally, with 31 percent improvement in the system from 47 percent in the 2006-07 term.

Arnsdorff reminded the BoE that the SEOCT will replace the Georgia High School Graduation Test for ninth grade students this year.

"It is still considered to be a high stakes test in that regard," he said, "but we feel are students are going to be prepared to do well and our teachers will work to continue."