GCPS matches, exceeds state averages in EOCT results

Similar to their peers across the state, Gwinnett students excelled this year in end-of-course-tests in physical science, U.S. history, economics and American literature and composition. But math scores fell about 20 points below those areas, which also fell in the areas of statewide averages.

Gwinnett County Public Schools students recorded their highest mean scale score in physical science, a 488, as 96 percent of them met or exceeded standards in that subject, about 11 percentage points above the state average.

That surpassed ninth-grade literature and composition, where 91 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, and American literature and composition, where 93 percent of students met or exceeded expectations.

The Georgia Department of Education released the results for end-of-course-tests, or EOCTS, on Wednesday.

For students who entered ninth grade for the first time in the 2011-12 school year, the EOCT counts as 20 percent of the student’s final grade, an increase from the previous 15 percent level.

Students took the EOCTs for the last time this year. Beginning next year, all students in grades 3-12 will take the Georgia Milestones. The new testing system is expected to be a consistent program across third grade through high school, rather than 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.

Georgia Milestones will be aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in English language arts and mathematics and Georgia Performance Standards in science and social studies.

Students this year for the first time took analytic geometry, and 35 percent of students statewide met or exceeded the standard 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, Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said.

Patterson said Gwinnett students also showed improvement in coordinate algebra, where 56 percent of students met or exceeded the standard, an increase of 7.4 percentage points over last year, some 15 percentage points above the state average.

Forty-three percent of GCPS students met or exceeded expectations in analytic geometry.

“Math is certainly an area that most will look at in terms of the EOCT and see that there is room for improvement. While that clearly is the case, it is important to remember that we have just phased in the new math curriculum and it is to be expected that results would be lower in the first years of assessment,” Associate Superintendent Jonathan Patterson said. “As students and teachers become more familiar with the curriculum, we expect to see improvement.”

This is the first year of results for analytic geometry and the data reported only included the spring administration. In Gwinnett, accelerated students take the EOCT in the winter. Patterson added that 55 percent met or exceeded expectations combined in the winter and spring.

“Without a doubt there is work to be done in these areas as we continue to become familiar with the new curriculum and the increased rigor of the tests,” Patterson said.

GCPS students also surpassed the state in biology as 84 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 75 percent of the state did, and 79 percent in Gwinnett did so in U.S. history, compared with 73 percent state wide.

In economics, business and free enterprise, GCPS’ had 84 percent meet or exceed expectations, while 81 percent of the state did.