Valdosta Daily Times

December 21, 2012

Valdosta High juniors make gains in state writing standards

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA —  Valdosta High School and Pinevale Learning Center juniors participated in Georgia’s High School Writing Test in October and made tremendous gains since the 2011-2012 school year, according to recently released results.

“Overall, the percentage of high school students meeting or exceeding standards was 94 percent,” said Scarlet Brown, head of teaching and learning for Valdosta City Schools.

Though 1 percent below the state’s overall passing average which sits at 95 percent, the percentage was still a 7 percent gain over last school year’s numbers for the city school system.

More than 11 percent of students exceeded the state’s standard, a 6 percent boost from last year when only 90 percent of students met GHSWT state standards.

“Students at Pinevale Learning Center showed a 35 percent gain over last year, with a pass rate of 71 percent,” said Brown.

In the 2011-2012 school year, PLC’s pass rate was only 36.4 percent.

System-wide, 15 students with disabilities took the GHSWT with a pass rate of 53 percent, below the state average of 65 percent.

In the 11th grade, students participate in the GHSWT which must be passed in order to earn a regular education high school diploma.

The test, which is administered by the Georgia Department of Education, asks students to produce a response to one on-demand persuasive writing prompt. The writing test requires students to write a composition of no more than two pages on an assigned topic.

The test takes two hours and is administered three times a year so that students have multiple opportunities to take the test before the end of 12th grade.

Aside from being a requirement for graduation, GHSWT results are used to identify students who may need additional instruction in academic content and skills considered essential for a high school diploma.