EHS students post high scores on Gateway exams

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   For the second consecutive year, Elizabethton City Schools students garnered impressive scores on the state's Gateway tests.
   According to raw test scores released to ECS from the Tennessee Department of Education, EHS students posted near perfect test scores in the biology portion of the Gateway. Test results found 176 of 177 students taking the biology exam passed, representing 99.4 percent of students tested.
   "We have a lot of students performing above the test's level of proficient," said Dr. Judy Blevins, director of schools. "Many of our students are testing at the advanced level."
   Test results also showed 128 of 145 EHS students who took the Algebra I exam passed. The 88 percent ratio did not include students enrolled in technical math courses connected to the vocational education department.
   Test scores also reported all 43 8th grade students at T.A. Dugger Junior High who took the Algebra portion of the Gateway exam passed. Those results give junior high students a leg up on the exam upon entering high school.
   "They have already met the criteria for receiving their high school diplomas," said Blevins.
   The State Board of Education designated 10 high school courses in 1998 for the development of end-of-course examinations. Students who enter their freshmen year in 2001-02 must pass three Gateway tests -- mathematics, science, and language arts -- before graduation to earn a high school diploma. These Gateway Tests are part of the End-of-Course series of tests that students take in high school.
   The Gateway exams were first administered statewide during the 2001-2002 school year when the Algebra I and Biology I exams were given. English II was added this year. The Gateway tests are given three times annually to accommodate students completing work in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The state requires schools to count Gateway exam scores as a minimum of 15 percent of a student's course grade.
   Subjects of geometry, algebra II, physical science, chemistry, and U.S. history will be added each year through the 2005-2006 school year until the exam program is fully implemented.
   The system had equally high scores during the first round of the Gateway exams last year ranking among the top scoring school systems in the region and the state. Eighty-nine percent of the 215 Elizabethton city school students taking the Algebra I exam passed while over 99 percent of 168 students taking the Biology I exam passed during the 2001-2002 school year, according to 2002 test results.