Majority of Georgia High School Students Fail State Math Exams

End-of-course exam results from the Georgia Department of Education show that as a whole, high school students are failing the state’s math exam.

According to research released, 77.4% of the students who took the Algebra II/Geometry combined test failed it; 65.4% failed Analytic Geometry; 61.8% failed Geometry and 59.7% failed Coordinate Algebra.

These were easily the most glaring areas of trouble for the state. The next highest failing rate was for US History at 27.2%, followed by Biology (25%), Economics/Business/Free Enterprise (18.8%) and Physical Science (15.5%)

The scores account for 20% of students’ entire grade for the course for those enrolled in ninth grade as of July 2011, and 15% for those enrolled previous to that date, writes Thompson Wall for The Peach Tree Corners Patch.

“While these results seem low and different from what we are used to seeing, they are in line with what many national assessments say Georgia’s students’ college and career readiness level is,” said State Superintendent John Barge in a statement. “We must address this head-on so our students leave our schools with the best preparation possible to succeed in life after high school.”

Scores improved in six of the eight End-of-Course (EOCT) exams from last year, including the reading exams.  According to Ty Tagami for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Barge found this news encouraging.

“Reading is truly foundational to learning, so those increases in students exceeding standards are encouraging to see,” he said. “As we transition to tests that more accurately reflect our standards — and the emphasis those standards place on critical thinking and comprehension — students’ reading abilities will help them to excel.”

Only 7.5% of Georgia students failed the American Literature and Composition exam, and 12.3% of the Ninth grade literature test.

The EOCTs will be replaced by a new set of tests next year being referred to as the “Georgia Milestones Assessment System”.  The exams will be aligned with the Common Core standards, and will also replace grade level tests in grades 3 and 8, according to Lee Shearer for The Athens Banner-Herald.

The Milestone tests will still be one of the deciding factors in a student’s ability to go on to the next grade from grades 3, 5, and 8.  The tests will also be used for teacher assessments.

The Milestone end-of-course tests will account for 20% of a student’s total grade.

Milestone tests will be taken online.  In an effort to ease into this transition, 30% of students will begin online testing this year, 80% within three years and 100% within five years.

“The Analytic Geometry and Coordinate Algebra results give us another look at the new level of increased expectation for student achievement that is coming with Georgia Milestones,” Barge said in a press release. “The expectations to meet standards are significantly increasing so we have a new and more realistic baseline of student performance.”

School-level results are expected in July.