published Friday, May 13th, 2011

Catoosa students to get another shot at tests

by Kelli Gauthier

Students in Ringgold will be some of the only ones in Georgia this month not taking the standardized tests that could exempt them from the soon-to-be-obsolete Georgia Graduation Test.

Their paper End of Course Tests, which were stored in the school system’s central office, were destroyed in last month’s tornadoes.

“The physical tests received some water damage,” said spokeswoman Marissa Brower.

Catoosa students will get another chance to get out of the graduation test sometime in July, and then again in August, said Trish Schimpf, the district’s high school improvement specialist.

By the time this year’s eighth-graders are high school juniors, they no longer will have to take any of the five sections of the graduation test, thanks to a vote earlier this year by the Georgia Board of Education to discontinue the tests. In the meantime, students who pass at least one End of Course Test in a given subject can skip that same area of the graduation test.

For instance, if students pass the End of Course Test in ninth-grade literature or American literature, they don’t have to take the English portion of the graduation test. If they pass in either U.S. history or economics, they don’t have to take the social studies portion of the graduation test.

Without the option to take the End of Course Tests this month, Catoosa students would have missed an opportunity to get out of parts of the graduation test.

“If they miss taking the tests this time, we didn’t want it to penalize them in the future,” Brower said.

Assuming a Catoosa County waiver is approved by the state board, the End of Course Tests also will not count as 15 percent of students’ final grades as they typically would, Brower said.

about Kelli Gauthier...

Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...

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