State-level 2014 End-of-Course Tests (EOCT) were released Wednesday, marking improvements in most areas while simultaneously showing a large percentage of students who still lack in testing for math.
High school students across the state improved passing rates on six out of eight EOCTs compared to last year, according to data released by the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE). One test saw no change from last year, and one was new this year and, therefore, unable to demonstrate either improvements or declines.
One-year increases were seen in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards - the two passing levels according to the state's standardized testing system - in coordinate algebra, economics, biology, physical science, ninth-grade literature and composition, and American literature and composition.
"Students and teachers are getting more and more comfortable with our standards and the results are showing it," said State School Superintendent John Barge. "The comparable End-of-Course Tests demonstrate a positive trend. When results on almost all comparable tests increase then we should be encouraged.
"However, we do know that the more demanding expectations on our new tests could bring similar results to what we've seen the last two years in math."
Thirty-five percent of students passed the new analytic geometry EOCT this year. That number is expected to increase next year, just as the coordinate algebra EOCT increased from last year to this year (by three percentage points), according to GADOE.
"The analytic geometry and coordinate algebra results give us another look at the new level of increased expectation for student achievement that is coming with Georgia Milestones. The expectations to meet standards are significantly increasing so we have a new and more realistic baseline of student performance," Barge said. "While these results seem low and different from what we are used to seeing, they are in line with what many national assessments say Georgia's students' college and career readiness level is. We must address this head-on so our students leave our schools with the best preparation possible to succeed in life after high school."
Summary of results
The following scores were provided by GADOE and are rounded.
Eighty-eight (88%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for ninth-grade literature and composition. This is an increase of two percentage points when compared to spring 2013
Ninety-three (93%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for American literature and composition. This is an increase of two percentage points when compared to spring 2013
Forty (40%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for coordinate algebra. This is an increase of three percentage points when compared to spring 2013
Thirty-five (35%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for analytic geometry. The winter 2013 EOCT was the first administration for analytic geometry
Seventy-five (75%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for biology. This is an increase of one percentage point when compared to spring 2013
Eighty-five (85%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for physical science. This is an increase of two percentage points when compared to spring 2013
Seventy-three (73%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for U.S. history. There was no change from spring 2013
Eighty-one (81%) percent of Georgia's students met or exceeded the standard for economics/business/free enterprise. This is an increase of two percentage points when compared to spring 2013
The EOCT accounts for 20 percent of a student's final grade for those who entered ninth grade for the first time in the 2011-2012 school year, an increase from the previous 15 percent of the final grade.
This was the final time students took EOCTs. Beginning next year, all students in grades three-12 will take Georgia Milestones assessments. The new testing system is one consistent program across all grades instead of a series of individual tests. It will include open-ended questions in English language arts and math to better gauge students' content mastery and, with some exceptions for special education students with specific testing accommodations, will be administered entirely online by the fifth year of implementation.
According to GADOE, district-level EOCT results will be available no later than July 16, and school-level results will be available no later than July 30.