U.S. allows slimmed-down report cards on Georgia school performance

A student at Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Morrow works on a math problem during class on April 19, 2022. Students across the state took the Georgia Milestones in April and May, but the federal government says they don't need to inform school report cards this year. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

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A student at Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Morrow works on a math problem during class on April 19, 2022. Students across the state took the Georgia Milestones in April and May, but the federal government says they don't need to inform school report cards this year. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Georgia’s public schools won’t be scored in the normal way for their students’ results on state standardized tests this year as the federal government continues a relaxed stance on accountability due to COVID-19.

The lingering effects of the pandemic led the U.S. Department of Education to grant state School Superintendent Richard Woods’ request for a continued reprieve from the normal reporting requirements, he told local superintendents last week.

Results from all the Milestones tests taken from third grade through high school will not be aggregated into the 100-point scoring system published in the annual school report card known as the College and Career Ready Performance Index. Prior to the pandemic, the overall CCRPI scores were used by parents and other observers to compare schools against each other and against their own past performance.

Some test scores will still influence portions of the report, but there will be no overall score this time.

Woods told local superintendents about the federal decision and its impact in a June 2 email. He said test scores and other measures this year will serve as the basis for future comparisons, effectively erasing the pandemic from the record.

“We structured our requests to ensure that the 2022 CCRPI is realistic and takes into account the extraordinary circumstances of the last two years,” Woods wrote. “Our goal is to establish a new baseline, rather than compare your schools’ performance to pre-pandemic norms.”

The federal government waived testing in the first year of the pandemic but required test administration again starting last year. As many expected, the resulting scores showed performance declines amid the disruptions and stressors of COVID-19. Also, low student participation undermined the reliability of the aggregate scores as a measure of overall learning last year, when Georgia got a pass on publishing the CCRPI. Instead, the state Department of Education released “CCRPI-related” data files.

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The CCRPI will be required this year, but not in its complete form, the federal government told Woods in a May 26 letter. Student attendance will be excluded from the report along with data comparing students’ performance to prior years.