Some students will retake Georgia Milestones tests

Responding to technology glitches in online testing, the state Board of Education last week waived the requirement that Georgia Milestones scores play a role in promotion and retention decisions in third, fifth and eighth grade.

That waiver does not mean elementary and middle school students who failed a Milestones test — parents are supposed to learn Thursday or Friday how their child fared — won’t have to retake it. Their children could retest over the next two weeks, depending on the policy of local districts.

Some systems including Cobb saw no computer meltdowns with the Milestones. So, while Cobb will not use the Milestones for retention, the district will retest students Tuesday through Friday.

Clarke County chose not to retest students due to the computer problems it experienced. While Clarke had fewer snafus last month than last year, it still had students who lost connectivity during testing and had to wait 15 minutes or more to reconnect. While the state Department of Education blamed most computer meltdowns on local capacity, technology directors around the state cite a basic design flaw.

“Losing connectivity is not an overwhelming issue if a student can log back in and connect in two or three minutes,” said Tim Jarboe, Clarke County Schools Director of Assessment and Accountability. “But when you have one child taking 15 minutes and another taking maybe a half an hour, then you have a group of kids sitting there getting nervous.”

To read more about Milestones testing problems, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.