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Bulloch, state End-of-Course Test scores up
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    Bulloch County students, along with their peers across Georgia, posted improvements on most End-of-Course Tests in the 2012-13 school year compared to the previous year, according to data released Wednesday by the Georgia Department of Education.
    Also, in many cases — especially at Southeast Bulloch High School — Bulloch County students outperformed their peers statewide.
    Portal High School posted the highest passing rate in any EOCT subject, with
94.7 percent of test takers meeting or exceeding grade-level standards in American literature. That was a 9-point jump from the 2011-12 school year.
    All Bulloch County district-run high schools posted higher pass rates than the state. Similar data for the Charter Conservatory, a public school in Bulloch County that is not run by the school district, were not immediately available Wednesday.
    “These scores show the hard work of our teachers and students is paying off,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. “When looking at results in subjects that can be compared to last year, it is a positive trend. However, we are not where we need to be in every subject, particularly in math.”
    Ninth-grade math is a difficult area to measure because the state is in transition. Math I, typically taken in ninth grade, is being phased out in favor of coordinate algebra. Both of those courses saw pass rates in the 20- and 30-percent range, which state and local officials attributed in part to the transition as well as the relative difficulty of both courses.
    “The coordinate algebra results give us a first look at the new level of rigor that is coming with new federal criteria for state tests, where the expectations to meet standards will increase significantly,” Barge said. “The new cut scores on the coordinate algebra test are more in line with the higher level of expectations required for students to get into postsecondary institutions and not need remediation, as well as the expectations many of today’s jobs require, which is why fewer students met or exceeded the standard. Over time, I am confident that our students will become more comfortable with the new level of rigor and will demonstrate that in their college and career readiness.”
    Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson said he considers EOCT results an important measurement of how well the district’s students are learning.
    “Because EOCT scores assess student achievement in relation to Georgia’s performance standards, these results are very important to us,” he said. “What is just as important is for us to understand why we are seeing the results that we are, to understand the patterns in our student performance results, and to measure ourselves not only against the state averages, but against ourselves, so that we are continuing toward improvement. This will involve a lot of work but will be well worth it, and our students deserve nothing less.”
    Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.

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