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GCPS Eighth-Graders Improve on Already High Scores

McConnell and Couch middle schools place in top 20 in Georgia.

Traditionally, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) eighth-graders have excelled on the Grade 8 State Writing Test, ranking Gwinnett middle schools among the top in the state. That being the case it is not surprising that eight Gwinnett middle schools ranked in the state’s top 20 in terms of scale scores on this year’s test. North Gwinnett Middle School eighth-graders came in at No. 1 in the state.

Schools in Top 20 in Georgia:

  • 1st Place: North Gwinnett Middle School
  • 5th Place: Osborne Middle School
  • 7th Place: Twin Rivers Middle School
  • 13th Place: Crews Middle School
  • 15th Place: Pinckneyville Middle School
  • 16th Place: McConnell Middle School
  • 19th Place: Couch Middle School
  • 20th Place: Trickum Middle School

More than 12,500 Gwinnett students took the test in January of 2012. Overall, GCPS’ average passing rate remains high, holding steady at 93 percent. Of particular interest is the success of Gwinnett students in scoring at the highest performance level. Seventeen percent of Gwinnett students scored in the “Exceeds” performance level compared to seven percent statewide.

Locally, this represents an increase of 3 percent over the previous year’s results in this highest performance level. Again, North Gwinnett MS was the top performer in the state with 36.6% of students scoring in the “Exceeds” performance level. All together seen Gwinnett middle schools made the state’s top-20 list in terms of students scoring at this highest level.

Percentage of Students in Highest Level (Top 20):

  • 1st Place: North Gwinnett Middle School, 36.6 percent
  • 3rd Place: Osborne Middle School, 34.3 percent
  • 6th Place: Pinckneyville Middle School, 30.1 percent
  • 9th Place: Twin Rivers Middle School, 28.9 percent
  • 11th Place: McConnell Middle School, 28.2 percent
  • 14th Place: Crews Middle School, 25.8 percent
  • 15th Place: Trickum Middle School, 24.1 percent
  • 16th Place: Jones Middle School, 23.2 percent

This writing assessment represents essential literacy skill development in the four domains for ideas, organization, style, and conventions from either an expository or persuasive prompt. Therefore, GCPS views the results as a reflection of academic rigor across the curriculum through integration of comprehension, creativity, and fluency of written expression, incorporating analysis, synthesis, and critical thinking. These fundamental literacy skills are an essential part of an academic program of college and career readiness. The skills reflected in the content of the test are included in the GCPS Academic Knowledge and Skills curriculum.

In Gwinnett, the state writing test serves as a local promotion requirement for 8th grade students. They must “meet” or “exceed” state standards in order to earn promotion to 9th grade. In addition, Gwinnett 8th graders must pass five of their six courses—including language arts and math—and must meet state standards on the CRCT to earn promotion to 9th grade.

Students who did not pass this first administration of the 8th Grade Writing Test, but who are required to pass to earn promotion, have the opportunity to receive extra help in preparation for a retest. The results from the retest will be available prior to the beginning of summer school. If a student is not successful on the retest, he or she could attend summer school to improve their writing skills in preparation for another retest at the end of summer school.

(Editor's Note: This article is taken from a press release from Gwinnett County Public Schools.)

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