Marietta Middle School eighth graders had a three-point gain on their annual writing tests while students in Cobb Schools saw a two-point drop in their average scores.
Scores on the Eighth Grade Writing Assessment were released by the state this week.
In Cobb, 7,962 students were tested, scoring on average 218, compared to 220 in 2012. Marietta Middle’s 546 students received an average score of 216, up from 213 in 2012. Both districts reported that 87 percent of test takers wrote at or above the standards.
Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck said she is proud of her students’ continued improvements.
“Writing remains a critical skill at all grade levels and across all subject areas,” she said. “Our Marietta Middle School teachers continue to provide opportunities and differentiated instructional strategies to increase the number of students who write effectively.”
Of Cobb Schools’ 25 middle schools, average scores ranged from 203 to 243, and at nine schools 90 percent or more of eighth graders met or exceeded the standards.
The three top scores were at Dickerson with a 243; Dodgen, 238; and Hightower Trail, 231. The lowest scores were at Cooper with a 203; Smitha, 205; and Griffin, 209.
Overall, Cobb middle schools saw a drop in averages, and only five schools saw gains – Dickerson, Dodgen, Lost Mountain, Simpson and Tapp.
Cobb Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause was unavailable for a comment, but district spokesman Doug Goodwin said they determine how well schools are performing based on the number of students exceeding the standards, not just meeting them.
“It’s not enough just to meet the base level,” he said.
Goodwin also said the district, like many statewide, is still transitioning from the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) to Common Core Standards.
GPS requires students to write on a specific topic, but Common Core requires students to read an excerpt, analyze it and write a more critical response.
“What we’re going to be doing moving forward is encapsulating all those writing skills into the analytical portion of it,” he said.
Common Core, created under state law, also requires educators to encourage writing across the curriculum, not just in language arts or English classes.
“The business of all educators is to hold those standards for oral and written communication at or above grade level,” he said.
Both districts outscored the state average of 215, which was down by one point from last year, and Cobb Schools met the metro Atlanta score of 218, which also dropped by two points since last year.
Districts included in the metro Atlanta schools designation include Atlanta, Buford, Clayton, Cobb, Decatur, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Marietta City and Rockdale.
Other information regarding tests results for Cobb Schools include:
- Special Education students improved by 1 point to 200, and 58 percent of students met or exceeded standards.
- English Language Learners had a mean score of 198, with 58 percent of all students meeting or exceeding standards.
Data for Marietta City also indicates:
- White students met or exceeded the state average by 11 percentage points with 98 percent.
- Black students met or exceeded the state average by 12 percentage points with 87 percent.
The writing test is one of four grade-level specific tests given in Georgia to help determine students’ writing performance.