Gwinnett juniors pass writing exam in record numbers

SUWANEE - Gwinnett juniors set a new record for the percentage of students passing the writing component of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. In the Gwinnett school district, 98 percent of students passed the state writing exam on their first attempt.

That is two points higher than the metro Atlanta passing rate, and three points higher than the statewide passing rate. The 98 percent rate is an all-time high for the county.

"We have more students than ever before, they come from more diverse backgrounds than ever before, and their achievement on the writing portion of the GHSGT is higher than ever before," Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said. "That is testimony to the fine education offered in Gwinnett schools."

Georgia students must pass the graduation test in order to earn a high school diploma. High school juniors are given the writing assessment in addition to subtests in language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. If they don't pass the test on their first attempt, they are given opportunities to retake it before their class graduates.

Associate Superintendent Cindy Loe was very pleased with the results. She said Gwinnett students were successful writers partially because of the schools' emphasis on writing throughout the curriculum.

"Gwinnett students have experience writing about everything from math concepts and science experiments to political movements and literature," Loe said. "As a result, they're well prepared for writing assessments and for the writing that is expected in postsecondary and workplace settings."

Six Gwinnett high schools had passing rates of 99 percent. These were Brookwood, Collins Hill, Dacula, Duluth, Mill Creek and North Gwinnett.