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GCPS eighth-graders improve scores on writing test

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett County Public Schools eighth-graders have traditionally excelled on the state writing test, and this year’s group of test-takers was no exception.

Close to 12,000 students took the test in January, raising the county’s passing rate from 91 percent in 2010 to 93 percent this year, Gwinnett County Public Schools officials said. Of those students, 14 percent scored in the highest category of “exceeds,” compared to 5 percent statewide.

A breakdown of scores by school was not available Wednesday.

Statewide, 83 percent of students passed the test, an increase of four percentage points from the year before, according to the Georgia Department of Education. Since a new version of the test was first administered in 2007, the statewide passing rate has increased by 16 percentage points.

In Gwinnett, the biggest one-year gains in achievement were seen with English language learners, whose performance increased nine percentage points to 66 percent passing, and students with special needs, with an increase of seven percentage points to 69 percent passing.

The test requires students to respond to writing prompts on either an expository or persuasive writing topic. In Gwinnett, passing the test is one of the requirements for eighth-graders to be promoted to high school.