In a press release last week, Thomson High School announced that the Class of 2007 posted a five-point gain on the Georgia High School Writing Test, with 95 percent of the first-time, regular education test takers passing the test.
"THS is very pleased with the results of this test. The Class of 2007 has proven to be a very strong class with many self-motivated students and a core group of leaders. The results of the GHSWT reflect the hard work these students, their parents, and educators have invested in their education," said Lynn Cato, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Thomson High.
The high school graduation tests are used to measure Adequate Yearly Progress throughout Georgia under the No Child Left Behind legislation. Given in September, the writing test is one of the five parts of the graduation exams students must pass in order to earn a diploma. Students are scored in the domains of content and organization, style, conventions, and sentence formation.
According to the press release, the increase in GHSWT scores is attributed to the high school's greater emphasis on writing in all disciplines, including the requirement to create at least one "perfect paper" each month, and a senior writing portfolio.
"Passing the high school graduation tests, including writing, does not begin in a student's junior year, though," Mrs. Cato said in an e-mail. "Rather it is the culmination of the work they've done all through school. It's important, therefore, that all stakeholders realize the responsibility of taking an active part in the student's education from an early age."
System-wide, students are given mock writing tests at each grade level every year in addition to the state-mandated writing assessments in third, fifth, eighth and eleventh grades. Mrs. Cato said the high school also offers after school tutoring.
Over the course of the last two years, THS students have increased scores on the GHSWT by eight percentage points.