Atlanta Public Schools showed some gains in test results from the 2017 Georgia Milestones, though many students have not yet reached the proficiency level in core areas of learning such as math and science.
Superintendent Meria Carstarphen touted the results as proof of the work the system is doing in turning schools around.
“I am really pleased. Overall 57 of our schools achieved gains in subject areas,” she said.
She is particularly happy to see some double digit gains among students testing at or above the developing learner rank. For instance, students at Towns Elementary had an overall gain of 11.9 percent of students into the developing or better ranks.
The tests begin in third grade. The results rank students into one of four categories, from beginning, which means a student is failing, to developing, which means they need more work but are beginning to get the concepts. The proficient ranking means they know their stuff; and the distinguished learners have more than mastered the subject.
The scores count for one-fifth of a high school student’s course grade.
Atlanta schools grouped student averages for the top two rankings, proficient or distinguished, and added one of the lower rankings, developing learners, to calculate averages.
That grouping showed for instance that there was a 2.8 percent increased in students who scored well enough to rank as passing in math.
Check back throughout the day. The AJC will be posting a searchable database on which you can find your school’s results.
Here’s an idea of how students in elementary schools are doing overall, by average scores in the four key subject areas:
In elementary schools to eighth grade, an average of 27.1 percent of students achieved proficient or distinguished status in science in the Milestones End of Grade tests. ABout 25 percent were developing and 48 percent were beginning learners.
In math, 29.7 percent were in the higher two categories, while 35.5 percent were developing. 34.8 were beginning learners.
APS elementary students did best in English language classes, with 31.9 percent of students ranked as proficient or distinguished. Twenty-nine percent ranked as developing and more than 38 percent were beginning learners.
In social studies, 25.4 percent of students were proficient or distinguished, and 37.4 percent were developing learns. About 37 percent were beginning learners.
Across all grades, APS found that 57 schools - about two-thirds of Atlanta schools - showed progress. That is 17 more than last year, measured by the same results.
“We are encouraged by the progress, especially when two-thirds of our schools improved on their Georgia Milestones as compared to the year before,” Carstarphen said.
In high schools, 18.1 percent of students were proficient or distinguished in algebra I, and 28.5 percent were developing. More than 53 percent were beginning learners.
About 30 percent were already on track in biology, while 24.5 percent were developing learners. A little more than 45 percent were beginning learners.
In American literature and composition, 35.5 achieved proficient or distinguished learner rankings, and about about 35 percent were developing. About 30 percent were ranked as beginning.
Georgia Milestones was implemented during the 2014-2015 school year as a harder test to ensure the state’s students were better prepared for college and careers.
The state Department of Education will use the scores in grading school performance.
Christopher Quinn is a writer and editor who has worked for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 1999. He writes stories on Veterans Affairs, business including high-tech growth in metro Atlanta, Georgia's $72 billion farm economy, and he oversees assigning and editing news obituaries.