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Students top state average on test scores
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Dawson County High School exceeded the state average on the 2012 Georgia High School Writing Test, according to results released last week.

"We had an increase in our overall pass rate - ‘meets and exceeds' - with 94 percent," said Jute Wilson, principal.

That was 1 percent higher than the state's average of 93 percent.

In addition, 11.2 percent of Dawson County students exceeded the standards on the test. The state average was 10 percent, according to a report released by the state Department of Education.

"Last year we focused on raising the percentage of students attaining a score in the ‘exceeds' category, the highest level," Wilson said. "We are proud to have 11.2 percent of our students achieve such a rating from this fall."

Superintendent Keith Porter said the results are a source of pride.

"As we analyze our high school writing test results, it is positive that we have raised the number passing from the previous year and that the scores exceed those of the state," Porter said.

The scores are the second highest rating the high school has posted, trailing only the 12 percent mark of last year, according to Wilson.

Previously, the percentage of local students achieving "exceeds" stayed between 3 to 5 percent.

"It is gratifying that our efforts to increase the number of students that not only pass but perform at high levels have resulted in increased numbers of students reaching the ‘exceeds' category of performance," Porter said.

Wilson noted that the school builds "time into the school day to review writing practices for all juniors prior to the test."

"During this time, our language arts teachers meet with these students and tutor them, an assignment they gladly take on above and beyond their normal teaching duties," he said.

Wilson also pointed out that the results reflect the scores of all local test-takers.

"Unlike some other systems in the state, these scores represent the test results of all students in Dawson County, which includes Hightower Academy," he said. "We were glad to see the gains students with ... ([Principal Matt] Wark and his faculty achieved there as well."