Students in Georgia notched higher scores on the state’s new standardized test, the Milestones, in 2016.
It was the second year of the tests, and the first when education officials could calculate a change in scores, since 2015 was a baseline year.
The percentage of students who achieved scores indicating proficiency increased slightly in 23 of 32 tests. “Proficient learners” are considered to be on track to graduate ready for college or work. Most of the big gains were seen among fifth, seventh and eighth grade students.
“I’m pleased,” Superintendent Richard Woods said. “While increases in most areas were seen, the results do highlight the need to focus on early grades, especially in the areas of literacy and numeracy.” His goals include getting students reading on grade level by third grade and reaching proficiency in math by fifth grade, since a grasp of those subjects by those stages of development is essential as a foundation for future learning.
The Marietta City Schools Center for Advanced Academics had the highest percentage of third grade students scoring proficient or above, at 91.1 percent followed by Daves Creek Elementary in Forsyth County at 90.4 percent. Muscogee County’s Britt David Elementary Magnet school had the highest percentage of fifth grade math students scoring proficient or better at 96.9 percent, followed by DeKalb County’s Kittredge Magnet School at 95.6 percent.
The Georgia Milestones replaced the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in the 2014-15 school year. The tests are given starting in third grade and include open-ended questions. Students are ranked in one of four categories in each tested subject: beginning learners have failed to grasp the fundamentals and will require “substantial” help to catch up; developing learners are almost there but still need help to get on track; proficient students have mastered the basics; distinguished students are the top performers.
Because of reports of technical glitches this time, schools do not have to use the scores when considering whether to hold back low-performing students. Despite that waiver, the state Department of Education did not waive use of the scores in grading school performance.
METRO ATLANTA SCHOOL RESULTS: Georgia Milestones 2016