"One of the things we didn't know until, I guess, last week, is that the state changed their criteria with the feds, and they've included some 10th-graders in the overall numbers, which nobody I've talked to knew they were going to do," Cartersville Superintendent Howard Hinesley said. "We didn't know that, and maybe we were supposed to know it, but I can't find anybody who did."
"In the past, it's always been what counts in terms of [Adequate Yearly Progress] are first-time test takers, which are juniors," Cartersville Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said. "You always have some students who are 10th-graders who should be in the junior class but they don't have the credits to be there. So this year, when those students who should be 11th-graders but they don't have the credits, they're still able to take the test, and have been taking it in the past, because they might get caught up and they need every opportunity to pass the test a number of times just like everybody else, but this year, that group of students was included in the total numbers [for the first time], and it really counts against you."
For John Barge, director of secondary curriculum for Bartow County Schools, the overall problem with the GHSGT is the battery of tests itself.
"I'd like to see the day where we eliminate the Georgia High School Graduation Test, period," Barge said. "It's pretty frustrating when you're testing students over material that they had three years ago as freshmen. We have the End of Course Tests -- those were put in place 10 years ago with the sole intention of eliminating the Georgia High School Graduation Test, and we've never done that.
"That's something that just needs to happen -- it just makes more sense for a student to be tested at the end of the course when they take the course rather than possibly up to three years later, and then being held back from graduating because of that."