TIFTON -- In a presentation to school board officials, Tift County High School Principal Mike Duck confirmed that 30 of the 389 seniors that were scheduled to graduate this year did not because they failed portions of the Georgia High School Graduation Test.

In addition to those 30 students, 28 others didn't walk because they failed a portion of the test and didn't have a sufficient number of credits to graduate.

Of the 30 students who passed the curriculum requirements but failed a portion of the test, 28 were on the technical career track, one was on the college preparatory track and one was set to receive a dual-seal diploma for completing both tracks.

In all, nearly 90 percent of seniors at Tift County passed the controversial exit exam, a percentage that isn't surprising to school board officials.

"The results were very similar to last year's scores. The scores that were presented reflected only on the first-time takers, so considering that, we feel they did very well," Tift County School Board President Erick Willis said.

Tift County seniors scored highest in the English Language and mathematics portions of the exam with scores one point below the state average in both areas. Next were social studies and science which bottomed out at 77 and 66 percent respectively.

"We believe that the reason behind the significantly lower scores in the science portions lies in the test itself. Some of the language used in the exam is confusing and we (the school board) believe that the kids are just having a hard time understanding the questions," Willis said.

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