For once, Georgia can be proud of its educational system, group says

Georgia often ranks in the middle or near the bottom on national comparisons among the states, but in one new study it comes out on top.

The new report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute doesn’t measure student performance. Rather, it looks at the degree to which states give schools an incentive to hold their top students to a higher standard.

Too many states focus primarily on serving their lowest-performing students, measuring mainly “proficiency” on standardized state tests, says the new report by the education research organization.

But Georgia and three other states are credited with downgrading high schools that fail to deliver a rigorous education to high-performing students.

“Georgia’s high school accountability system is one of the best in the country for high achievers. Other states should take heed,” Fordham says.

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The new report, High Stakes for High Schoolers, is a salve on the wound inflicted by Fordham’s last report, which gave Georgia a middling score for the way it serves younger high-achieving students.

States are required under federal law to hold schools accountable for ensuring students pass tests, but the new study says Georgia goes beyond that minimal requirement at the high school level. How? By making high achievement a factor in grading schools.

Georgia’s school report card, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, gives schools points for the number of their students achieving at an advanced level, for instance rating their success at helping students earn college credit via Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or dual-enrollment programs.

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