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Newton County School System (NCSS) and each of its three high schools improved scores across the board on the Georgia High School Writing Test in 2012 with the district topping the state average in the process. Scores reflected are for junior, first-time test takers.

NCSS showed a two point increase going from a score of 94 in 2011 to a 96 in 2012—one point above Georgia’s average score of 95. Alcovy improved by 3 points in 2012 going from a 93 score to a 96 average score in 2012—also one point above the state’s average score. Eastside increased scores by two points in 2012. The school’s average score in 2011 was 95 but this year Eastside scored a 97—two points above the state average. At Newton High, scores also improved in 2012, going from a 94 average score to a 95 score. The school matched Georgia’s average score on the writing test.

“Our latest writing results further demonstrate the upward trajectory that our public schools have been on when it comes to state assessments,” said School Superintendent Gary Mathews. “I am particularly pleased to see writing as strong as it is given its importance and signal that one is truly educated. Now, as the state has upped the ante with the new College and Career Readiness Performance Index, we have to begin to significantly translate Georgia results on the CRCTs (Criterion Referenced Competency Tests), EOCTs (End of Course Tests), and GHSGTs (Georgia High School Graduation Tests) into greater results on college-level admission tests such as the ACT and SAT. But, we’re on track to do that over time.”

Students in the 11th grade participate in the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) and must pass the GHSWT to earn a Georgia diploma.  Students are asked to produce a response to one on-demand persuasive writing prompt.  The writing test requires students to produce a composition of no more than two pages on an assigned topic.  Students are allowed 100 minutes to write their essay.  The test is administered three times a year so that students have multiple opportunities to take the test before the end of the 12th grade.  The main administration of the GHSWT takes place in the fall of the 11th grade year.  Results of the GHSWT are used to identify students who may need additional instruction in academic content and skills considered essential for a high school diploma.

For more information, contact Dr. Carl Skinner, Director of Testing, at