When it comes to the most difficult part of the high school End of Course Tests -- math -- most local schools are making improvement, according to the spring 2014 school-level results.
Some schools still lag the district and state averages significantly, but others are trumping other schools in their districts and across Georgia.
The EOCT assesses high school student and some middle school students in several areas from biology to American history to economics. Next year, the test and its middle and elementary school equivalent will change. The new Georgia Milestones exam will be more rigorous, with fewer multiple choice questions and more essays.
In Bibb County, all schools improved on the coordinate algebra test, but they still fell below the state average. The coordinate algebra test was new in 2013, and most schools across Georgia scored low on the exam when it was introduced. While scores were still low in 2014, there was improvement. The districtwide pass rate in algebra for Bibb County was 18.2 percent, and the statewide rate was 40.2 percent.
In Bibb, the highest coordinate algebra score was at the Hutchings Career Center -- now the Hutchings College and Career Academy -- where 31.1 percent of students met the standards. The lowest score was at Southwest High School, where just 9.7 percent did. Other scores were: 10.6 percent at Central High, 10.5 percent at Westside High, 21.9 percent at Rutland High, 26.3 percent at Howard High, and 10.4 percent at Northeast High.
Out of the 26.3 percent of students who passed the exam at Howard High, 2.6 percent exceeded the standards, according to the results.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do in the areas of math and science,” Interim Superintendent Steve Smith said during a recent interview about EOCT data. “A lot of that stems from a scarcity of math and science teachers, and hopefully we’ll be able to address that specifically in the future.”
In Houston County, schools also improved on the algebra test compared with last year. While some schools carried the system, surpassing both the district and state averages, others fell slightly below the state pass rate. The district pass rate was 55.9 percent.
The highest score in Houston was at Veterans High School, where 66.6 percent of students met or exceeded standards. The lowest was at Perry High School, where 32.6 percent of students passed. Other scores were: 58 percent at Houston County High, 34 percent at Northside High and 38.1 percent at Warner Robins High.
Peach County High School did not follow the trend of improvement on the algebra exam, as just 7.9 percent of students passed in 2014 compared with 16.5 percent in 2013.
In Monroe County, Mary Persons High School’s pass rate increased slightly to 34.5 percent. And while Jones County High School did not post algebra scores last year, the spring 2014 pass rate was 42.7 percent.
Schools continued to score well in literature. American literature had the highest district pass average of 87 percent for Bibb and 93.8 percent for Houston. In Houston, Veterans High had the top pass rate of 97.1 percent, and in Bibb, the top score was at Howard High, with a pass rate of 94.5 percent.
“Any time you can make gains at the high school level, that’s not an easy task,” said Eric Payne, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Houston schools. “We’re pleased to outperform the state, but we’re not satisfied. We want all our students to be successful.”
The EOCT math portions “give us another look at the new level of increased expectation for student achievement that is coming with Georgia Milestones,” state School Superintendent John Barge said in a release. “The expectations to meet standards are significantly increasing, so we have a new and more realistic baseline of student performance.”
To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 744-4331.