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During the 2012-2013 school year, Newton County’s high school students participated in nine End-of-Course Tests (EOCTs); however, only seven of the scores available can be compared to the 2012 results.  A small number of students participated in Math I and American Literature EOCTs which were offered only to satisfy graduation requirements: the Math I exam was replaced by the new Coordinate Algebra EOCT. The American Literature course was not offered this year as schools adjusted the sequence of English courses to ensure alignment with the companion history course. In the past, for example, students took the American Literature course while taking World History. The change moves American Literature to eleventh grade to be taught at the same time U.S. History is taught; history courses provide the necessary historical context for the literature explored in each of the core courses. 

According to preliminary test data provided by the Georgia Department of Education, Newton County School System (NCSS) students surpassed the state in three areas, matched the state’s scores in two areas, and posted a two-point decline in one area. NCSS students outpaced the state in Physical Science, Economics, and U.S. History and matched the state in 9th Grade Literature and Math II. Unfortunately, for both the state and Newton County, students did not perform well on the new Coordinate Algebra exam.

NCSS students also increased pass rates on five of the seven tests in 2013, including: 9th Grade Literature; Physical Science; U.S. History; Economics; and Math II. According to NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, once retest data is finalized, scores are expected to reflect even more improvement.

EOCTs are used as a factor of high school success for accountability purposes on the new College and Career Ready Performance Index and also account for a percentage of a student’s course grade.

Test Subject Breakdown

9th Grade Literature: Both Alcovy and Eastside topped the state’s 86 percent pass rate and also showed improvement over 2012 scores. Newton scores dipped two points over last year and also fell just two points shy of the state average.

American Literature:  The 2013 American Literature EOCT cannot be compared to 2012 results due to the very small number of students who participated.

Biology:  Eastside topped and Alcovy matched the state average in Biology; Eastside also showed a one point increase on the pass rate compared to 2012 scores. Alcovy’s pass rate decreased by five percent. Newton High School’s pass rate, which dipped six points in 2013, was below the state average pass rate.

Physical Science:  All three high schools surpassed the state in Physical Science in 2013 with Alcovy and Eastside also showing improvement compared to 2013 scores. Newton High dipped by just one percent in 2013.

U.S. History:  Eastside and Newton surpassed the state pass rate on the U.S. History test and also showed improvement compared to their 2013 scores. Alcovy dipped by one percent in 2013 and was just three points under the state’s average pass rate.

Economics: All three high schools topped the state average by a wide margin in 2013 with Alcovy and Newton also showing considerable improvement this year. Eastside’s pass rate dropped by five points in 2013.

Math II: All three schools posted increases on the Math II test in 2013 and Eastside far surpassed the state pass rate. Alcovy and Newton were both just a few points below the state average.

Coordinate Algebra: 2013 marked the first year of the Coordinate Algebra test and as expected, scores across the state were low. All three high schools scored below the state average on this test. Coordinate Algebra results provide the system with a birds’ eye view of the new level of rigor and increased cut scores.

Math I: The Math I course has been phased out and only a small number of students participated to satisfy grade requirements; therefore, the results cannot be compared to the 2012 results for Math I.

Scores for Challenge Charter School, which has since closed, and Ombudsman, the district’s Alternative Education Program, are available for review upon request.

“Due to the hard work and dedication of our students, teachers, and administrators, over the last three years our high schools have experienced significant growth with regard to EOCT scores,” said Fuhrey. “However, mathematics continues to be an area in need of more focused attention. The 2013 school year was the first year for the Coordinate Algebra EOCT, which assessed a new curriculum and required teachers to adjust their teaching techniques to reflect the increased rigor. The curriculum and exam required students to move from recalling facts and plugging numbers into formulas to understanding and identifying mathematical concepts.”

Fuhrey added, “The Coordinate Algebra test is not the typical multiple choice exam experienced in the past. The 2014 school year will see the addition of Analytic Geometry and school leaders are working to ensure students experience greater success. Math II will also be phased out in 2014.”

“While we are pleased with the continued improvement in our students’ EOCT results, we are not yet where we wish to be,” said Fuhrey. “Our teachers and school and central office leaders are committed to this upward trend. Math continues to be a challenge and we intend to face the challenge with continued dedication and commitment to our students and school system.”

For more information on the End-of-Course Tests, contact Dr. Allison Jordan, NCSS Director of Testing, Research, and Evaluation at jordan.allison@newton.k12.ga.us.

Click here to see for test data.