95 percent pass state high school writing test
By Kathryn Schiliro
Morgan County High School (MCHS) students hit a high with the fall 2012 administration of the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT).
More than 95 percent of 11th grade first-time test takers passed the GHSWT – focused on persuasive writing – last year, up from more than 93 percent in 2010 and 2011 and 95 percent in 2009, according to information presented to the school board Monday night by Assistant Superintendent Debra White.
“They (the scores) are very competitive,” MCHS Principal Dr. Jim Malanowski said.
The number of students not passing the test is also at the lowest it’s been in four years: 4.6 percent. However, the percentage of test takers meeting the test’s standards is 79.7 percent, up from 2009 and 2011’s numbers, but below 2010’s more than 80 percent. Additionally, more than 15 percent of test takers more than met – they exceeded – the test’s standards, a number down from last year's 17 percent of students exceeding standards but up from 2009 and 2010 numbers.
Broken down further, 63 percent of Special Education students passed; 98 percent of female students and 90 percent of males; 84 percent of black students, 91 percent of Hispanic students and 98 percent of white students, according to information from Malanowski.
Malanowski found the discrepancy between female and male test takers of interest.
“We originally thought this was an African-American male situation,” Malanowski said. “Turns out it's a guy situation.”
Compared to the other 20 high schools in the Northeast Georgia RESA area, of which Morgan County is a part, Loganville, Walnut Grove, Oconee County, Oglethorpe County, North Oconee, Jefferson, Greene County, East Jackson Comprehensive and Barrow County's Apalachee high schools scored better then Morgan as far as percentage of students passing the GHSWT.
Statewide, near 95 percent of first-time test takers passed the GHSWT.
Both the middle and high schools are in the process of applying for federally administered Striving Readers grants to the tune of several million dollars. The primary and elementary schools have already received these grants. Both White and Malanowski expressed hope that, if received, the grant would further reading and writing at MCHS and systemwide.
Printed in the December 13, 2012 edition