State scores from the 2014-15 administration of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones in grades three through eight and Georgia Milestones End-of-Course tests in grades nine through 12) were released last week. These preliminary scores reflect the first administration of Georgia’s new comprehensive testing system.
Students took the Cirterion-Referenced Competency Tests for the last time during the 2013-14 school year, and began taking Georgia Milestones assessments in 2014-15. The new testing system is one consistent program across grades three through 12 rather than a series of individual tests. It includes open-ended questions to better gauge students’ content mastery and, with some exceptions for special-education students with specific testing accommodations, will be administered entirely online by the fifth year of implementation.
The higher bar for student proficiency set by Georgia Milestones is aimed at better preparing students for college and career and providing a more-realistic picture of academic progress. During the administration of the CRCT, Georgia had some of the lowest expectations for student achievement in the nation — an “honesty gap” between students’ performance on state assessments and their performance on other measures of student achievement. Georgia Milestones aims to narrow that gap.
Georgia Milestones scores and CRCT scores are not directly comparable. Georgia Milestones and the CRCT are two different tests, with different expectations set for student achievement. Because the expectations set by the Georgia Milestones system are higher, it was expected that the percentage of students considered proficient would initially be lower.
Georgia’s school-accountability system, the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), currently uses CRCT and EOCT results for all areas. Georgia Milestones results will now be used to calculate school and district CCRPI scores, but the 2015 CCRPI is a hold harmless year since this was the first year Georgia Milestones was administered.
In order to be considered eligible for promotion, students in grades three, five and eight must demonstrate they can read and comprehend grade-level material. Students’ performance on the reading component of the English/language arts test will determine whether the student is reading below grade level or on/above grade level. Students will also receive a Lexile score based on their reading skill. Students in grades five and eight must demonstrate grade-level skills in mathematics to be eligible for promotion. Students who achieve the Developing Learner level or above have mastered basic grade-level mathematic concepts and skills.