When it comes to Georgia’s Fifth Grade Writing Assessment, Smyrna’s students proved they have the write stuff. Three Smyrna schools averaged an overall mean score higher than the state mean score and had the highest average mean score in Cobb County tying with Tritt Elementary School in Marietta.
Though King Springs Principal Linda Keeney could hardly contain her excitement for the students, she admitted she couldn’t take credit for the accomplishment.
“It was totally the responsibility of our teachers and we have had writing as one of our goals since I’ve been here at King Springs for about five years,” she said. “We’re teaching writing across every grade level every single day.”
Keeney said King Springs teachers don’t have a set writing curriculum, but instead incorporate writing in classwork across all grade levels.
“It’s not a specific curriculum,” she said. “If there was a magic bullet, a magic program out there that made everybody’s test scores go up, everybody would be buying it. And it’s not. It’s a combination of teachers really teaching well and really focusing on raising the standards and getting kids to write.”
Georgia’s Fifth Grade Writing Assessment is given to all fifth grade students in the spring. Students are given two hours to write to an expository, narrative or persuasive essay based on a prompt. Teachers don’t know what the prompt will beforehand, Keeney said.
The writing is submitted to a panel of experts who grade the work on ideas, organization, style and convention. Students receive a grade between 100 and 350 with 100 to 199 meaning the student does not meet expectations, 200 to 249 meaning the student meets expectations and 250 to 350 meaning the student exceeds expectations.
King Springs' mean scale score was 246, 36 points higher than the state’s mean scale score of 213. Two other Smyrna schools also received mean scale scores higher than the state’s mean scale score; with 216 and with 221.
Here’s a look at how all of Smyrna schools stacked up:
Number of Students Tested
% Does Not Meet Standard
% Meets Standard
% Exceeds Standards
International Academy of Smyrna