Columbia County high school students raised the averages of every End-of-Course Tests applying to the school system.
In the first year that test results truly matter by counting for 15 percent of a student's final grade in the given subject, the average number of students passing in Columbia County was 90 percent or higher in four of seven subjects. Students also met or exceeded the state average of students passing in every subject.
The tests were first given in 2004 as a trial run. They are administered in ninth-grade literature and composition, American literature, algebra I, geometry, biology, U.S. history and economics.
In economics, only 59 percent of students passed the test given this past spring - but that's a 13 percent improvement over 2004.
Assistant Superintendent Deborah Franklin says the 2004 End-of-Course Tests exams helped to improve the county's result.
"That gave us a good baseline to see where we needed to improve our instruction," she said. "A lot of our teachers were just skimming over areas of the economics test book near the end. A lot of that material ended up being on the test. We knew then that was something we needed to focus on more."
Franklin said, however, that school officials will continue to tweak economics instruction. Overall, she said, she was very pleased with the performance of Columbia County students on the tests.
"You're never truly satisfied," she said. "You always want to try and do better, but I think we improved greatly and we'll continue to do so."
State Superintendent Kathy Cox echoed Franklin's remarks in regard to overall state scores.
"The End-of-Course Test results are a mixed bag," said Cox in a released statement. "We made some progress on the exams and we should celebrate that.
"Our high school students seem to be doing well in some areas, particularly English, but the scores show there is plenty of work left to be done in our high schools."
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