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Barrow School System to focus on students' weak subjects

Superintendent talks improvement after EOCT results released

POSTED: August 6, 2014 1:00 p.m.

The Barrow County high schools will be putting extra emphasis on some of the subjects the students fared poorly on in the final round of the End of Course Tests, according to the system’s new superintendent.

School-level results of the EOCT test were released last week.

"Scores posted in mathematics, 9th Grade Literature, and Physical Science reinforce our need to focus additional attention in these areas," McMichael said in a news release. "Our teachers work very diligently to prepare our students to meet the goals on these tests. I will be very interested to see what root causes may surface as we delve deeper in to analyzing these results."

Barrow County high school students lagged behind the state average in six of eight categories.

In the two math subjects, Coordinate Algebra and Analytic Geometry, students at all three Barrow high schools passed the tests below the state average of 40.3 percent (Apalachee 34.1 and 30.6; Winder-Barrow 30.3 and 37.7; Snodon 3.5 and 0).

Snodon Preparatory School is the district’s non-traditional high school.

McMichael said the tests were tougher due to them being tested in different areas, which resulted in statewide drops in scores.

In 9th grade literature, 81.2 percent of AHS students passed, 83.5 percent of WBHS students and 72.1 percent of Snodon students. The state average was 87.2 percent.

In Physical Science, Winder-Barrow students actually exceeded the state average pass rate at 85.1 percent to 83.1 percent for the state as a whole, but Apalachee students had a 73.4 percent pass rate and Snodon students 52.6 percent.

The news wasn’t all negative, however. When combining the pass rate for both winter and spring EOCT administrations, Barrow County students outperformed the state in both Biology and United States History. Also, In Economics and American Literature Barrow students were roughly equal to the state pass rate, although just a bit below.

"We are quite happy to see the increases in Biology and US history EOCTs," McMichael said.

Barrow students on average passed at a rate well above the state (74.3) in Biology, with 87.7 percent of AHS students passing, 85.1 percent of WBHS students and 59.2 percent of Snodon students.

Both traditional high schools also saw a higher percentage of students exceed than the state average, including 51.3 percent of WBHS students.

In U.S. History as well, more than 50 percent of WBHS students exceeded while the state average was just 32.8. As far as strictly passing the tests, 71.8 percent of AHS students did so to tie the state average, while 78.9 percent of WBHS students passing and 21.3 percent of Snodon students.

In American Literature and Economics both traditional high schools in the county actually passed a rate slightly ahead of the state average, except for in Economics Apalachee students actually passed at rate well above the state: 85.2-79.9 percent.

The 2013-2014 school year was the last year the EOCT was administered in Georgia. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year the Georgia Milestones assessment will become the primary student evaluation for Georgia students and will serve as the end of course assessment for core subjects in Georgia high schools. As with the End of Course Tests the Milestones will count 20 percent of a student’s final grade in core courses.

The Milestones will include more performance based items, assess higher order thinking skills, and will, over time, transition to entirely computer based administration.

"As we move forward with our new state assessments, Georgia Milestones, we will be focusing more heavily on "analyzing student growth" rather than just "meeting a predetermined bar" which I believe to be a more effective way to determine individual student achievement," McMichael added.



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