More eighth-graders pass state writing test

LAWRENCEVILLE - A year after the state increased the rigor of the Georgia Writing Assessment, the percentage of eighth-graders in Gwinnett County Public Schools who passed the test increased by 14 points.

More than 11,750 students took the writing test, which focuses on expository and persuasive writing. The percentage of students who passed increased from 73 percent last year to 87 percent this year, according to the school system. The number of students who exceeded expectations increased from 6 percent to 12 percent.

Fewer students failed the test this year, with the percentage of those who did not meet expectations dropping from 27 percent last year to 12 percent this year.

Passing the writing test is one of the requirements for students to be promoted to ninth grade, said Jane Stone, the school district's director of assessment.

Most of the county schools posted mean scores above the state's average of 212 points. Five schools - Lilburn Middle, Radloff Middle, Richards Middle, Summerour Middle and Sweetwater Middle - fell just below the state average, with scores ranging from 204 to 211.

Students who need to retake the test can participate in an intervention program to help them improve their writing skills, Stone said.

SideBar: Writing results

More than 11,750 eighth-graders in Gwinnett County Public Schools took the Georgia Writing Assessment in January, and the average score increased by 10 points from the year before. The number of students that passed the test also increased from 73 percent in 2007 to 87 percent this year. This chart shows the average scores from each middle school and the percentage of students who met, exceeded or failed to meet expectations.

School/Avg. Score/% failing/% meeting expectations/% exceeding expectations/Students tested

Berkmar Middle/213/15%/80%/5%/315

Creekland Middle/224/9%/77%/14%/941

Crews Middle/235/2%/74%/23%/441

Dacula Middle/224/6%/82%/11%/666

Duluth Middle/225/11%/75%/14%/615

Five Forks Middle/225/6%/80%/14%/461

Hull Middle/227/9%/74%/17%/787

Jones Middle/226/9%/76%/16%/429

Lanier Middle/224/8%/80%/12%/838

Lilburn Middle/204/32%/65%/3%/375

McConnell Middle/221/9%/80%/11%/895

Osborne Middle/242/2%/66%/31%/659

Pinckneyville Middle/225/16%/67%/17%/369

Radloff Middle/206/30%/65%/5%/340

Richards Middle/211/22%/73%/5%/777

Shiloh Middle/216/12%/82%/6%/559

Snellville Middle/214/15%/80%/5%/715

Summerour Middle/208/24%/70%/6%/323

Sweetwater Middle/211/19%/77%/4%/527

Trickum Middle/229/7%/74%/19%/635


Georgia /212/22%/71%/6%/119,716

Source: Gwinnett County Public Schools