The percentage of first-time test-takers passing the state-mandated high school graduation tests increased in two areas, fell in a third and stayed the same in a fourth at Commerce High School.
In English/Language Arts, 93 percent of this year’s 11th graders who took the test passed it — the same percentage as last year.
In math, the percentage was 97, up from 94 last year, while in Science, 96 percent of juniors passed the test, compared with 93 percent in 2009.
Social Studies was a different story. Only eighty-one percent of CHS test-takers passed the test, down from 95 percent last year.
Assistant superintendent Joy Tolbert said the Social Studies took a hit after the state changed the nature of the graduation test, placing greater emphasis on government.
“Overall, the state has seen a drop,” Tolbert said. She attributed it to the “full implementation” of the new Georgia Performance Standards in place of the old Quality Core Curriculum.
“We saw it coming and had to make a change to adjust, but it is not a change we can do overnight,” Tolbert explained.
Government has been taught during the senior year at CHS, which means this year’s test-takers had not had government, upon which 18 percent of the graduation test in Social Studies is based.
To adjust to the new test, the school dropped the ninth grade requirement for World Geography and substituted World History. Tenth graders will take U.S. History and 11th graders Government, while seniors will get Economics.
CHS students fared better than their counterparts statewide in all four graduation exams.
East Jackson Scores
At East Jackson Comprehensive High School, test scores fell dramatically and were below the state passage rate in all four areas.
Eighty percent passed English/Language Arts, down from 91 percent last year. In Math, 85 percent passed, compared to 96 last year, while 77 percent passed Social Studies, down from 85 percent in 2009. Eighty-eight percent of students taking the Science exam for the first time passed it, down slightly from 89 percent in 2009.
The tests are given to high school students for the first time in the spring of their junior year. Those that don’t pass may retake the GHSGT as many times as needed to pass the exams, according to the state department of education.