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Gwinnett students best state average on graduation test

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The results of the spring administration of the state graduation test continued a trend for Gwinnett juniors, whose performance topped state results.

The Georgia High School Graduation Test was administered in March to more than 9,000 Gwinnett 11th-graders. The students scored the district's highest-ever passing rate in science -- 96 percent -- and met the previous all-time high in English/language arts -- 94 percent.

Statewide, 92 percent of students passed the science portion of the test, and 90 percent of students passed English/language arts.

Gwinnett juniors posted 90 percent passing rates in mathematics and 87 percent in social studies. In Georgia, the passing rates were 84 percent in math and 80 percent in social studies.

Additionally, a higher percentage of Gwinnett students earned the "Advanced Proficiency" or "Honors" designation when compared to students in the state.

The state is phasing out the high school graduation test in favor of end-of-course exams starting in the fall.

Students in Georgia have been taking both kinds of tests for several years, but state officials say end-of-course tests are a better measure of how much students have learned. For example, juniors taking the graduation test may have to answer questions on a biology course they took in their freshman year.

The state has been trying for a decade to toss out the graduation test because many educators say it is a barrier to graduation. In the last few years, states such as North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Alabama have made the same move.

By the end of 2015, the Center on Education Policy predicts that up to 15 states will be using end-of-course tests as exit exams, up from five in 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.