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High school celebrates graduation test success

There was a party going on Monday at Thomson High School. Teachers and administrators wore party hats, blew party horns, clapped and cheered as they learned the results of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests taken in March.

Before showing a power point presentation that gave the results, Principal Rudy Falana told the teachers, "The scores that you saw in the paper previously with the state averages, well let me tell you, they have nothing on you all.

"Our scores beat the state average all the way across the board...It just goes to show you what dedication, hard work and holding the kids' feet on the ground can do for you," Mr. Falana said.

The high school graduation tests are used to measure adequate yearly progress throughout Georgia under the No Child Left Behind legislation. To earn a diploma, students must pass all five areas of the tests, which include writing assessment, English/language arts, mathematics, social studies and science.

The results released Monday by the state Department of Education showed that the Thomson High School Class of 2007 scored better than all other classes in the school's history, as well as the state average in every discipline.

In English/language arts, 97 percent of all first-time test takers passed the test, compared to 92 percent last year, and 96 percent across the state. In math, 95 percent passed, compared to 90 percent last year and 92 percent across the state. Two students scored a 600 on the math test, which is the highest possible score.

Students showed a 10 percent increase in science, with 80 percent passing, compared to last year's 70 percent and the state average of 72 percent.

The biggest increase was in social studies with 89 percent of all first-time test takers passing, compared to 77 percent last year and 85 percent across the state.

"Obviously, we're delighted with the improvement," said John Barnett, who teaches history at THS. "I thought we would do as well as last year, but to jump 12 percent in one year is almost unheard of. I was pleasantly surprised."

Last Thursday, 192 members of the junior class received a T-shirt and enjoyed a cook-out for passing all content areas of the graduation test. Fifty-two percent scored in the "pass plus range" which is the highest range.

"This is a job well done by all faculty at Thomson High School," Superintendent Mark Petersen said during the celebration. "For our boys and girls, I say thank you for a job well done."

Students who did not pass the test, or wish to prepare for the next administration may attend summer review sessions at THS July 5-18. For class times and more information, call the high school at 706-986-4200.

Web posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006

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