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Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT)

Purpose of the Graduation Tests

Georgia’s graduation tests provide valuable information for students, educators, and parents about student strengths and areas for improvement. The tests identify students who may need additional instruction in the concepts and skills required for a diploma. From 2004 through 2011, the English Language Arts and Mathematics high school graduation tests have been used to measure Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Students seeking a Georgia high school diploma, who entered high school prior to July 2011, must pass the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) in four content areas as well as the Georgia High School Writing Test.

As a result of amendments to State Board of Education rule in April 2011, the cohort of students who enrolled in high school from Fall 2008 through June 2011 must demonstrate their proficiency in the four GHSGT content areas by either passing each of the GHSGTs or by passing one of the two equivalent End of Course Tests in each corresponding content area. These students are also required to take and pass the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) to be eligible for a diploma.

Students who enter grade nine in 2011 – 2012 and beyond will not take, and are not required to pass, the GHSGT. They are required to take and pass the Georgia High School Writing Test.

Students with disabilities and English Language Learners may receive appropriate standard accommodations based on their needs and the specifications of their Individualized Education Program, their Individual Accommodation Plan, or their ELL Testing Participation Committee Plan. Students with disabilities unable to participate in the state testing program, even with accommodations, are assessed with the Georgia Alternate Assessment.

Assessment Opportunities

Students take the graduation tests for the first time in the eleventh grade. The Writing Assessment takes place in the fall, and the GHSGT in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies occur in the spring of the eleventh grade. Students who do not pass on the first attempt of the tests have multiple opportunities to receive additional instruction, retest, and qualify for graduation before the spring of the twelfth grade.

Students who do not pass all the required tests but have met all other graduation requirements may be eligible for a Certificate of Performance or a Special Education Diploma. Students who have left school with a Certificate of Performance or a Special Education Certificate may return to attempt the graduation test(s) again, as often as necessary to qualify for a high school diploma.

Assessment Opportunities Writing Content Areas
Grade 11 Fall (September) First
Grade 11 Spring (March/April) Retest First
Grade 11/12 (July) Retest Retest
Grade 12 Fall (September) Retest Retest
Grade 12 Winter (November) Retest
Grade 12 Spring (March/April) Retest Retest
Grade 12 Summer (July) Senior Retest Senior Retest

According to Rule 160-1-3-.09, Waivers and Variances of High School Graduation Assessments Guidelines, students may receive a Georgia regular education diploma through the assessment waiver or variance process if they meet specific criteria.

Scale Scores Needed for Passing the GHSGT

To be eligible for a diploma, a student must achieve a Pass performance level on the requisite QCC tests and a Basic Proficiency on the requisite GPS tests. The following table shows the scale score ranges that determine each test performance level.

Below Proficiency Basic Proficiency Advanced Proficiency Honors
ELA (GPS) Below 200 200 to 234 235 to 274 275 or Above
Science (GPS) Below 200 200 to 234 235 to 274 275 or Above
Social Studies (GPS) Below 200 200 to 234 235 to 274 275 or Above
Mathematics (GPS) Below 200 200 to 234 235 to 284 285 or Above

Georgia High School Graduation Tests
Does Not Meet or Fail Pass
Student Accountability
Pass Plus
Student Accountability
School Accountability
School Accountability
ELA (Transitional) Below 500 500 to 537 538 or Above 511 to 537 538 or Above
Math (QCC) Below 500 500 to 534 535 or Above 516 to 524 525 or Above
Science (Transitional) Below 500 500 to 530 531 or Above    
Social Studies (Transitional) Below 500 500 to 525 526 or Above    

How to Determine a Student’s Test Requirements for Graduation Eligibility

When students enter high school, they are informed of the specific test requirements to meet graduation eligibility by their senior year. This information provides them adequate notice before they will be taking the standardized assessments that comprise one portion of the graduation eligibility criteria.

With the transition to the GPS curriculum, students are required to take the test that corresponds to the curriculum they engaged with during their high school career. The following chart shows the appropriate assessment for students entering in the years indicated:

Year Student Entered 9th Grade Required Assessment
ELA Mathematics Science Social Studies
Prior to 2004-2005* Transitional QCC Transitional Transitional
2005-2006 GPS QCC GPS Transitional
2006-2007 GPS QCC GPS Transitional
2007-2008 GPS QCC GPS GPS
2008-2009 through 2010 – 2011 GPS GPS GPS GPS
* The Basic Skills Tests (BST) were administered until the 1990-91 ninth graders graduated in June 1994. Students who entered ninth grade before July 1, 1991, and who completed all high school diploma requirements in effect at that time, except the graduation assessment, can return to attempt the Basic Skills Test(s) they have not passed. However, students who entered ninth grade before July 1, 1991 and dropped out of school for a year or more, without having completed all required assessments and other graduation requirements in effect when they left school, must pass the Georgia High School Graduation Tests that are required of the class in which they re-enroll.

Those students that entered ninth grade in the fall of 2004 and prior are responsible for the transitional forms of English Language Arts Science and Social Studies as well as the QCC forms of Mathematics and Social Studies. Those students who entered ninth grade in the fall of 2005 or 2006 are required to pass the GPS forms of English Language Arts and Science as well as the transitional form of Social Studies and the QCC form of Mathematics. The GHSGT program will continue to offer repeat test-takers the form of the test (GPS, QCC or transitional) that became their graduation requirement when these students first entered high school as freshmen (i.e., ninth grade).

In addition to passing the appropriate set of state assessments mentioned above, students must also meet other requirements to become eligible for a regular diploma. These include meeting attendance criteria and accumulating Carnegie units for the requisite courses as defined by the State Board of Education graduation policy.

As part meeting federal requirements for state standards and assessments systems, the GHSGT was peer reviewed by a team of external experts in the fields of standards and assessments. This team was convened by the US Department of Education and considered evidence in the following areas: content and academic achievement standards; technical quality; alignment; inclusion; and scoring and reporting. The GHSGT was found to meet nationally recognized professional and technical standards for assessment programs.

Effective with the Fall 2011 administration QCC forms will no longer be offered. Students who originally tested using the QCC forms in English/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies should be tested using the transitional form of the GHSGT (Form T).

The transitional GHSGT forms are developed based on a carefully constructed blueprint built to ensure students have had an opportunity to learn the content and skills assessed regardless of the curriculum under which they were instructed (whether it was the QCC or the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS)). In other words, the transitional forms are dually aligned to both the QCC and the GPS. Importantly, these forms are scored and reported on the QCC scale and are statistically equated (of equivalent difficulty) to the QCC forms.

Please note that QCC forms will continue to be available for the Mathematics GHSGT for those students who received mathematics instruction based on the QCC.

GHSGT Test Coordinator's Manual, Retests 2011
GHSGT Examiner's Manual, Retests 2011
GHSGT Mathematics Released Items with Commentary
GHSGT Mathematics Released Items
GHSGT Math Formula Sheet

English Language Arts Test Content Descriptions GPS Version (PDF)
Mathematics Test Content Descriptions GPS Version
Mathematics Test Content Descriptions QCC Version
Science Test Content Descriptions GPS Version - Spring 2011
Social Studies Content Descriptions GPS Version Update Oct. 2010

Science Student Guide GPS Revised August 2011
Mathematics Student Guide GPS August 2011
GHSGT English Language Arts Student Guide GPS Version January 2009
GHSGT Math Student Guide QCC January 2009
Social Studies Student Guide GPS Version 2010

Assessment Transition
Secondary Assessment Transition Plan FAQs
Secondary Assessment Transition Presentation

Online Assessment System

2011 State Summaries
2011 System Summaries
2011 School Summaries
2011 Spring GHSGT Statewide Results
2010 Spring GHSGT Statewide Results

GHSGT Re-Test Pre-Administration, Fall 2011
GHSGT Pre-Administration Presentation Spring 2011
Pearson Access Enrollments July 2009
Spring 2010 GHSGT PreAdministration Presentation

Basic Skills Tests

Update Bulletins GHSGT
GHSGT Winter 2011 Update Bulletin