The Georgia Department of Education released the 2014 school-level scores for End-of-Course Tests (EOCT), showing where each of the three high schools in Newton County improved, declined, passed the state or fell below Georgia average pass rates.

“I am delighted to see that our high schools have continued the trend of increasing student achievement,” Newton County School System (NCSS) Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said in a press release. “I am proud of our high school students, teachers, staff and leaders for their targeted work. Not only have we outperformed the state in six of eight areas, we have seen improvement in almost every subject area at each of our high schools.”

**How did our district stack up against the state?**

When looking at the district as a whole, every subject that has comparable data improved from last year. This means that more high school students in Newton County met or exceeded the standard on EOCTs in 2014 than they did in 2013. Physical science kept the same pass rate (88), and there is no 2013 data for analytic geometry and American literature.

Overall, the best score in the district was on the American literature EOCT (94), while the lowest score was in coordinate algebra (29).

Although math scores continue to be the weakest subject for students in the county and throughout the state, the district passed 10 percent more students on the coordinate algebra EOCT than it did last year (19), marking the largest rate of improvement in the county. The smallest improvement came from the physical science EOCT that stayed the same from 2013 to 2014.

District scores passed the state pass rate in every subject except the two math EOCTs (coordinate algebra and analytic geometry). The largest gap between Newton County and states scores was the economics EOCT (90), which beat Georgia’s pass rate by 9 percentage points. The smallest gap was a one percent difference in biology (76) and American literature.

The largest gap on the other end of the spectrum fell in coordinate algebra, falling 11 percentage points below the state score (40), while the district’s analytic geometry EOCT fell 5 percentage points below the state pass rate.

**What about each school?**

All three high schools showed improvements from 2013 to 2014, with Eastside High School topping the list by marking higher scores this year in every subject with comparable data (6) from 2013. Next came Newton High School (5), improving in every subject except U.S. history and non-comparable subjects, followed by Alcovy High School, which had better scores in four areas, not including non-comparable subjects, economics and physical science.

Eastside’s coordinate algebra EOCT showed the largest rate of improvement, moving from 29 to 42 percent of student meeting or exceeding the standard (13 percentage points). The biggest decline in scores from last year to this year was on Alcovy’s economics EOCT (88), which declined by three percentage points.

Eastside’s American literature EOCT passed 96 percent of students, marking the highest score on any subject at all three schools in 2014. Newton marked the lowest score (21) on its coordinate algebra EOCT.

“Our students’ performance in U.S. history places our high schools in the top 16 percent of the state,” Fuhrey said. “Our students’ performance in economics moves us to the top 18 percent of all systems in the state. Our students’ performance in 9th grade literature places us among the top 32 percent of all school systems in Georgia, and our students’ performance in American literature places us among the top 29 percent of systems in the state.

“Finally, while the state’s coordinate algebra pass rate is 40 percent, as a whole, the state improved three points from 2013 to 2014. In the Newton County School System, our students improved their performance by as many as (13) points, with Eastside outperforming the state. Our rate of improvement in coordinate algebra reflects our continued focus in mathematics. It’s important to note that improving three points is seen as ‘statistically significant,’ so the fact that our schools improved two to four times that rate speaks volumes about our commitment to continuous improvement.

“It’s important to note that we are not satisfied with our results; our focused work will continue to pay dividends as we prepare our students not only for Georgia’s new Milestones Assessment System but to have choices beyond high school.”