State will phase out Georgia High School Graduation Test

No more high school graduation test. It’s official with the state board of education vote today.

The official word from DOE:

The State Board of Education today approved State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge’s plan to phase out the Georgia High School Graduation Test.  Students who enter high school in fall 2011 will no longer take the GHSGT in English, math, social studies and science, in order to graduate.  This new plan will require students to pass all required courses, and the End-of-Course Tests  would now count 20 percent of a student’s final grade, rather than the current 15 percent weight.

“Georgia has been trying to eliminate the Georgia High School Graduation Test for over a decade,” said Superintendent Barge. “I appreciate the State Board’s vote that finally allows us to move away from the GHSGT. I don’t believe the GHSGT is nearly as good an indicator of how much a student has learned as our End-of-Course Tests. The EOCTs are much more rigorous, and they test a student immediately following a course, rather than waiting until a student’s Junior year to determine whether or not he or she has mastered the content of our curriculum.”

Today’s vote by the State Board of Education formally changed two rules:  Rule 160-3-1-.07 TESTING PROGRAMS and Rule 160-4-2-.13 STATEWIDE PASSING SCORE.  With these rule amendments, students entering ninth grade on or after July 1, 2011 no longer must take or pass the GHSGT to receive a high school diploma.  The rule amendments also reflect the change in the EOCT accounting for 20 percent of a student’s final course grade.  Students must pass all required courses, including those courses with EOCT.

These rule amendments also allow flexibility for students who entered ninth grade between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011 to meet graduation requirements by either passing the GHSGT or at least one of the two equivalent end of course tests in each corresponding content area.

Every student must continue to complete all applicable course requirements as well as taking and passing the Georgia High School Writing Test.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

64 comments Add your comment

Mom of a junior

April 13th, 2011
4:45 pm

@Maureen-
Can you pls. find out if the flexibility for current high school students means they have to fail the GHSGT multiple times before the EOCT substitution is applied.

For example:
A student fails the English high school grad test, but passes the 11th Am Lit EOCT. Does he have to keep attempting to pass the GHSGT multiple times before they go with the EOCT?

Thanks!

Maureen Downey

April 13th, 2011
4:51 pm

Another Math Teacher

April 13th, 2011
4:58 pm

I have seen very few students score below a 50 on an EOCT. This means they need a 75 heading into the test to pass the class.

Expect graduation rates to be near 100% very soon.

Inman Park Boy

April 13th, 2011
5:02 pm

Overall I support this change, but it really doesn’t inspire confidence in our schools, does it? Someone wrote the other day that an “A” in Dooly County should be the same as an “A” in north Fulton County. Not sure I necessarily agree with that, but I understand the point he makes. The fact is that the best teachers migrate to the “best” suburban schools. Inner-city and rural schools get the rest, not always the best. Urban and rural students often had lower schools on the graduation test because they had poorer teachers. How do we solve that? Beats me.

thinking ahead

April 13th, 2011
5:04 pm

Well, one can speculate that the state is making way for the assessments that will coincide with the Common Core State Standards that are being phased in.

Mom of a junior

April 13th, 2011
5:05 pm

@Maureen,
It isn’t clear from the links if they will make current high school students continually re-test if they already have a passing EOCT.
Another question:

Math 1 EOCT scores from the first administration of this test were never released. (2008-09 school year) Hypothetically there are students who could use those scores, if they passed, to meet the grad test requirement. Will the state make those scores available?

Maureen Downey

April 13th, 2011
5:08 pm

@Mom. I have sent the questions to DOE and will let you know what they say.
Maureen

Mom of a junior

April 13th, 2011
5:19 pm

Thanks Maureen!

Old School

April 13th, 2011
5:40 pm

Aren’t EOCTs for the core academic classes only? I know EOCTs are being looked at for CTAE but how about PE, Band, Chorus, Drama, JROTCs, etc.. Are tests coming for those areas as well?

APUSH Teach

April 13th, 2011
5:48 pm

@ Old School: Probably not. My hunch is there won’t be enough money to create them and they will evaluate teachers based on the current courses offering the EOCT.

Case in point: although American Government and World History are also required for graduation, GADOE has employed an EOCT for either course. There are only EOCTS for US History and Economics.

APUSH Teach

April 13th, 2011
5:49 pm

– based on the current courses that already have an EOCT. :)

APUSH Teach

April 13th, 2011
5:50 pm

Darn it– !!

– GADOE has NOT employed an EOCT for either course.

d

April 13th, 2011
6:04 pm

@Maureen has anything been said about EOCTs in Math for districts that aren’t using the Math I/II/III/IV next year for the Freshmen? Are we going to have two different EOCTs for Math?

HSTeecher

April 13th, 2011
6:46 pm

Be careful in the wording. The current Juniors (who have taken the GHSGT this spring), Sophomores and Freshmen will all have to pass the grad test to graduate. They may phase it out for the current 8th graders, but that is still 3 classes who have to deal with it. And the kids are getting confused when adults say “the current Juniors are the last to take this test.” No, they aren’t.

APS Parent #2

April 13th, 2011
7:14 pm

@Inman Park Boy. You are spot on with your comment about how teacher quality will affect this.

slapstick

April 13th, 2011
7:18 pm

Bleh! Blah! Phooie!
More of the same, crossing the hurdle at the lowest point.
It seems we are on dancing with the stars on first eposode; only to be axed the first chance they get.
I am beginning to support charter and private school with my overflowing pockets, the education system is becoming much like our incumbent government. I’ll defer that to the ever-so knowledgable DR. J “messiah” T
hi ho!
and in case you were wondering, i am arriving at a point.

This is a system build by dummies for dummies.

Football coach principals, redneck governors, and 3x as expensive students (you know who) don’t make for fun picnics.

Mom of a junior

April 13th, 2011
7:20 pm

@HS Teacher…
Yes current high school students have to take the GHSGT but there is a new clause adding substitution of a passing EOCT score for a failing GHSGT. See my post above. Maureen is currently getting clarification from the state as to just how many times a student may have to jump through the GHSGT hoop. And there also the issue of Math ! EOCT scores that were never released…

Mom of a junior

April 13th, 2011
7:20 pm

that’s Math I

Mom of a junior

April 13th, 2011
7:21 pm

Enter your comments here

Yes we Can't!

April 13th, 2011
7:28 pm

This will only serve to lower the nation’s opinion of Georgia as of today’s date. Most people looking to bash PS will skip all of the acronyms thrown around on this blog and levy judgement: we are making it easier for kids to graduate. This simple adds fuel to the fire raging in the debate regarding the ability of public schools to properly educate students. New York did away with regents degrees, now what? Were they too expensive? We will be bleeding our best and brightest educators when it comes time to “pay for implied performance.” They are pushing new grads away from the teaching profession with good reason. There will be a huge paucity of teachers in 4 years, mark my words.

RBN

April 13th, 2011
8:18 pm

Finally! I attended every state school board meeting from 1997 to 2000 and watched as countless students’ appeals were denied and their opportunities stymied over this test, all in the name of the god of testing.

ScienceTeacher671

April 13th, 2011
8:25 pm

Well, someone better get Pearson’s gradebook programmers working overtime if they are going to count the same EOCTs different percentages based on a student’s class designation.

For instance, physical science is considered a 9th grade class, but this semester I have at least 2 seniors, 5 juniors, and 8 sophomores in my “9th grade” classes. (Yes, I do know this doesn’t take effect until next year, but it’s not unusual to have a mix of grade levels due to failures or students moving in from areas that didn’t require physical science.)

The way I read the phase-in chart, in the same class the EOCT would count different percentages of the grade for different students.

Question for Science Teacher671

April 13th, 2011
8:46 pm

@Scienceteacher671—great point about the gradebook programmers!
Question for you as a science teacher…..do you happen to know why some school systems don’t offer Physical Science to most of their students and instead push 10th graders to take physics? Do you think it has been to avoid the EOCT?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

April 13th, 2011
8:47 pm

Another Math Teacher:

Please e-mail your astute comments to Dr. Barge, Senator Millar and Dr. Dolinger of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Their e-mail addresses are as follows:

state.superintendent@doe.k12.ga.us,
fran.millar@senate.ga.gov, and
sdolinger@gpee.org.

When educrats are expected to improve course-completion and graduation rates, they won’t let reasonable academic standards stand in their way.

Jezel

April 13th, 2011
8:52 pm

ALL this FRONTING in Ga. about education……is sort of sickening.

Jezel

April 13th, 2011
9:05 pm

Have you heard about the NEW integrated math. It teaches algebra 1, algebra 2, geometry and I think calculus all at the same time. WOW. Next thing is to teach French, English and Spanish all at the same time. Well math deals with numbers and languages deal with words. Makes perfect sense. Oh, Ga. will be using the whole language approach to accomplish small task.

Cobb Teacher

April 13th, 2011
9:08 pm

Give me a break! The EOCT gets easier and easier as they either dummy it down or curve it. My ninth graders this past year scored very well and they couldn’t even write a decent essay for me, nor use appropriate English grammar. Why not just give them the test at the beginning of the semester and if they get a 70 or higher, let them sit and text as they usually do. We are basicaly forced to pass a kid if they pass the EOCT even if they have done absolutely nothing in the class and are failing. That is how much power we have as teachers: nothing!

science teacher

April 13th, 2011
9:44 pm

Are they going to add a physics EOCT for those students who take physics in place of physical science? Otherwise, they are going to have a large number of students who only have 7 of the 8 tests needed to graduate. Did I misunderstand that they have to pass 8 EOCT classes, and only have to pass physics without an EOCT and Biology with an EOCT to graduate?

We're out!

April 13th, 2011
9:47 pm

Can they take the EOCT course at the beginning of the year and opt out of the class instead of sitting in a horrifically unchallenging class. I agree @Cobb Teacher these tests are designed for the lowest levels to pass… Georgia at it’s finest again!

Does anyone know

April 13th, 2011
10:08 pm

Does anyone know when the schools will have access to the results of the latest spring GHSGT administration?

Cast the old teachers out

April 13th, 2011
10:16 pm

Cast the old teachers out! Nanny, nanny boo, boo! Got 30 years! Still love teaching and I hope that these kids will pass their EOCT’s. For some, they ‘re hard because they can’t read. We will see how things work out.

ScienceTeacher671

April 13th, 2011
10:16 pm

@Question – as far as I know, a number of the schools around Atlanta have always offered Conceptual Physics in 9th or 10th grade, Biology in whichever year the students did not take CP, Chemistry in 10th, and perhaps an AP course or regular Physics in the 12th – and they’ve done this since before the EOCTs were implemented.

ScienceTeacher671

April 13th, 2011
10:24 pm

The more I look, the more it looks like a further dumbing-down. The only students who fail EOCTs now are the very lowest of those who’ve been committee promoted to high school after failing the (4th grade level) 8th grade CRCT.

And with this, they don’t even have to PASS the EOCT!

I don’t think I’ve ever had a student fail my class because of the EOCT. The cut scores are simply too low. If a student can’t get 40-45% of the EOCT questions correct, s/he is probably failing my course miserably to begin with.

On the other hand, I’ve had SEVERAL students who had class averages in the high 60s pass the course because of their EOCT scores. They got about 65% of the EOCT questions correct, and the state gave them a score in the 90s for the EOCT, which was 15% of the final grade.

And people talk about *teachers* inflating grades. SHEESH.

Ken

April 13th, 2011
10:28 pm

Any way we can phase out the voucher boy, Chip Rogers, too? Thanks GA state gov’t for nothing. I understand their working real hard to mess up our teacher retirement…

Ken

April 13th, 2011
10:29 pm

those worried, don’t be alarmed…the graduation test will be back in a few years with another name. Welcome to the world of recycling aka “Government”

2 cents

April 13th, 2011
10:39 pm

has everyone forgotten about NCLB?? in 2014 it has to be 100% (lol). I told my friends a year ago this was on its way.

next step 60-69 is a D. other states already use it.

there will be a lot of nashing of teeth, but there will always be the top, middle, and bottom of student achievement/performance:

Ga Tech Student

April 13th, 2011
11:12 pm

I can’t believe that the state of Georgia decided to ax the graduation test. This is going to hurt the average Georgia high school graduate. (GHSGT was extremely easy for me and my class of 487 students). EOCT’s should not be the only graduation requirement. Hopefully Georgia will bring back the GHSGT soon. Georgia will do anything to get their graduation rate up. I guess overall this means lower college enrollment in Georgia. Remember high school students college will be a struggle for you if you don’t know the basics.

Ga Tech Student

April 13th, 2011
11:17 pm

If everyone thinks they seen scandals with the state of Georgia with education it’s be fanatically awful. Teachers are going to do everything in their power to make sure that they pass student however EOCT results are going to show otherwise. I agree with you Ken they will have to bring back the GHSGT soon.

high school teacher

April 13th, 2011
11:38 pm

Several comments…

1) Old School, my husband is a CTAE teacher and is giving his first EOPT (end of pathway test) in May.

2) In my humble opinion, the EOCTs are more difficult than the GHSGTs. The pass rates for the EOCTs are typically lower than the pass rates for the GHSGTs.

3) For my students who have scored in the 90’s on the test. they only missed about 6 questions. Many questions on the EOCT are field test items, and others are thrown out based on validity of the question (if everyone misses a certain question, perhaps the question is invalid).

4) Just because inner city and rural schools score lower does not mean that they have the worst teachers. Maybe, just maybe, the caliber of the student has something to do with it.

5) “It’s” is a contraction for it is. “Its” is a possessive pronoun. If you’re going to slam Georgia’s quality of education, don’t make grammatical mistakes while you’re slamming.

Ga Tech Student

April 14th, 2011
12:03 am

Thanks high school teacher! You saved the day right? Hell NO! I think that high school students still need to take both EOCT and GHSGT. Plus lighten up! Have a great morning.

Casandra Johnson-Parent of Former APS Student

April 14th, 2011
12:45 am

Maybe I am too “old school”, but I remember back in the day when high school graduation tests were not a requirement for receiving a diploma, however we went to school, teachers taught, students learned, we passed our courses, we graduated, and went on to do well in life whether it was going to college, military, or entering into the workforce. This was back in the 80s, but it seems to me like something has drastically changed in our homes, schools, and communities, however I believe we need to go back to some of the very basic foundational principles from back in the day which helped to mold, shape, and develop us into better people.

Casandra Johnson – Author of “Remember Back in the Day”

teacher&mom

April 14th, 2011
6:48 am

*Newsflash*

How many out there had to take a high school graduation test to “prove” they deserved their high school diploma?

Take a deep breath folks and be thankful that we have eliminated 4 standardized tests. The sky didn’t fall, teachers will continue to teach the standards, and students will continue to learn. Stop drinking the standardized kool-aid for a minute and be grateful that we are no longer wasting money on a test that most on this blog acknowledge is easy and pointless. The money can be better spent elsewhere…

The EOCT’s are harder. If a student has ALREADY passed the Biology and Physical Science EOCT, why in the world would we need to test them AGAIN? The week we lose to give the graduation test is foolish. Loss of instruction time,

It was a good, common sense move in my opinion.

HRT

April 14th, 2011
6:48 am

What difference does it make? That test was so easy a relatively-bright eighth-grader could pass it without breaking a sweat.

teacher&mom

April 14th, 2011
6:51 am

Hit submit too soon..

*Loss in instruction time is foolish for students sitting in an AP Biology class or Honor’s Chem class. Do we really need to give those students a grad test to prove they’ve earned a high school diploma?”

high school teacher

April 14th, 2011
6:58 am

Ga Tech Student, I plan on having a great day! Thank you very much!

Dr NO

April 14th, 2011
7:26 am

Perhaps making this retro-active might assist in eliminating the ongoing APS cheating scandal. At the very least more dumb and stupid kids will be able to graduate.

HAAAAAALLLELUJAH!!!

William Casey

April 14th, 2011
8:17 am

@teacher&mom: I made the exact point to administrators in 2005 about how foolish it was that AP students had to take the other standardized tests. It’s simply “mindless” but that’s all too often the case in school. There was no interest in taking steps to prevent wasting students’ time.

A Conservative Voice

April 14th, 2011
8:28 am

@Casandra Johnson-Parent of Former APS Student

April 14th, 2011
12:45 am
but it seems to me like something has drastically changed in our homes, schools, and communities, however I believe we need to go back to some of the very basic foundational principles from back in the day which helped to mold, shape, and develop us into better people.

Very well put, Casandra, I have been espousing this for awhile now; however, not as eloquently as you since I only have an eighth grade education :)

New Parent

April 14th, 2011
9:29 am

Tranfer students who enter in their junior year do not have the opportunity to take as many EOCTs as other students. If a transfer student for the Class of 2012 fails the GHSGT, how will their situation be handled?

Bonnie

April 14th, 2011
9:52 am

I was supposed to graduate in 2003, the only thing holding me back was the graduation test. I went to two different high schools and studied for the test and i even took classes with a teacher one on one to study for it , i took the test 7 times and still have yet to pass. I passed all my highschool classes. I was wondering what else can i do. My teachers had to help me one on one even sometimes. So what is it for me do i finally get my highschool diploma .. I worked so hard for it .
Thanks