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NCSS writing test results improve
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Results from the annual writing tests given to fifth, eighth and eleventh-graders are in, and Newton County fifth-graders improved, with some schools showing increases of up to 17 points.

Overall, fifth-grade students increased from 75 to 78, just three points away from the state average of 81. The writing assessment for fifth grade evaluates each student's response to an assigned prompt from a bank of three genres - narrative, informational and persuasive. They are given 120 minutes to write their essays, and that time may be divided into two 60 minute sessions, but must be given the same day.

According to Superintendent Gary Mathews, Fairview Elementary School deserved special praise for their scores.

"The newly reconstituted Fairview Elementary School deserves notice here. At 86 percent of fifth-graders passing the state writing test, FVES enjoyed the second highest writing results at the elementary level," said Mathews in a press release.

NCSS eighth-graders did not fare as well, showing a two point decline from last year's score of 81 to 79. The state's score remained as it was last year at an 82.

Much like the fifth-grade test, eighth-grade students are assigned a topic from a prompt bank. But eighth-graders have only two genres, expository and persuasive. They are allowed 100 minutes to write their essays.

Just two schools showed improvement, Challenge Charter Academy with a 10 point jump from 61 to 71 and Veterans Memorial with a one point jump from 81 to 82.

Newton County's eleventh-graders declined slightly as well, but since the scores for them are still preliminary, they may well improve once retake results from the test are entered.

Eleventh-graders decline one point from 95 to 94. Their writing test is part of the Georgia High School Writing Test and they must pass it in order to earn their diploma.

"Naturally, we look to do better in the future and the ability to write well will prove important as we head towards next year's implementation of the new Common Core Georgia Performance Standards," said Mathews."