Georgia high school students showed improvements in most areas on the 2014 end-of-course tests, particularly in literature and science, but they still struggle with math.
According to the results released by the Georgia Department of Education on Wednesday, language arts categories saw an increase in test scores. Eighty-eight percent of Georgia students met or exceeded standards for ninth-grade literature and composition, a 2 percentage-point increase from 2013. Ninety-three percent of students met or exceeded standards for American literature and composition, also a 2 percentage point increase from last year.
Students also improved scores in science and economics testing areas. Eighty-five percent of students met or exceeded testing standards in physical sciences, increasing by 2 percentage points from 2013. Scores for the economics/business/free enterprise category increased by 2 percentage points, with 81 percent of high school students meeting or exceeding test standards.
Only 35 percent of high school students met or exceeded the standards for analytic geometry, a new category added to the EOCT this year. In the coordinate algebra test area, 40 percent of Georgia students met or exceeded the testing standard, an increase of 3 percentage points from last year but still a number reflecting a low pass rate.
Other categories showed minor increases in exam scores or no noticeable change. The number of high school students meeting or exceeding standards in biology increased by 1 percentage point this year, rising to 75 percent. There was no change in the number of students meeting or exceeding the standards for U.S. history, which hovered at 73 percent.
Georgia school Superintendent John Barge was optimistic about the 2014 EOCT results.
“Students and teachers are getting more and more comfortable with our standards and the results are showing it,” Barge said in a news release. “The comparable End-of-Course Tests demonstrate a positive trend. When results on almost all comparable tests increase then we should be encouraged.”
The test is designed to discover the strengths and weaknesses of Georgia high school students to help increase school performance. Roughly 93,000 students took the EOCT this year, and the test counts for either 15 or 20 percent of their final grades, depending on when the student enrolled in ninth grade.
This will be the last year Georgia students will undergo EOCT testing. The exam is being phased out and will be replaced by the Georgia Milestones testing system next year, which will be taken by grades 3-12. The Georgia Milestones will bring more rigorous testing standards and will include more open-ended English and math questions to “better gauge students’ content mastery,” according to a news release from the state Department of Education.
Results specific to school districts will be released by July 16, and results for individual schools will be released about July 30.