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Liberty schools continue to pilot new testing system
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Liberty County School System is one of the public school systems in the state that will participate in comparing an innovative standardized testing system, Navvy, to Georgia Milestones. LCSS has joined the Putnam County Consortium which consists of 11 other school systems, including nearby McIntosh County, according to a report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The process toward this comparison began in 2018, when the Georgia legislature passed Senate Bill 362 creating a state innovative assessment pilot, according to Liberty County school officials.

“Senate Bill 362 authorized the State Board of Education (SBOE) to approve up to 10 Georgia districts or consortia of districts to develop and implement innovative assessment systems,” explained Dr. Patti Crane, LCSS chief academic officer. “The Liberty County School System has always been on the lookout for innovative ways to evaluate instruction and student performance. NAAVY, a formative evaluation system, has been identified as an excellent and innovative tool to help both students and teachers recognize strengths and weaknesses during the learning process. While the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) does this well, the results are not available while instruction can still make a difference in a student’s achievement and growth.”

NAVVY is a series of small, eight-question formative assessments that are given during the school year on standards that the students have been taught, Crane said. 

“The results are immediate and allow the teacher to make changes in instruction right away,” she said.  “LCSS piloted NAAVY in grades 3-8 in ELA and Math for the 2018-2019 school year and will continue this practice for the 2019-2020 school year.”

The Georgia Department of Education and the United States Department of Education recently approved the process to further evaluate NAAVY as a potential successor of the current GMAS assessments, according to Crane. 

“It is important to note that Liberty County Schools will continue to participate in all current GMAS testing, as mandated by the Georgia Department of Education, in order to participate in comparability studies,” she said.

In a Georgia Department of Education news release, state elected officials commented on the federal government’s approval for the comparison of the two standardized testing systems.

“This [federal] waiver to utilize pilot projects allows Georgia to pursue greater flexibility in the classroom, reduce high-stakes testing, and focus on a more student-centric approach to learning,” Governor Brian P. Kemp said. “I applaud the efforts of federal, state, and local educational leaders who worked together to develop this innovative idea for the benefit of Georgia families, students, and teachers.”

"I am excited that Georgia is taking the lead on finding alternative ways to test our students other than the end of the year Milestones model," said Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan. “The granting of this waiver will start us on a path to more student— and teacher— centered testing.”

“I am proud that Georgia continues to be a national leader in pursuing flexibility for our schools and students,” Woods said. “A maximum of seven states will be selected to participate in this demonstration authority, so Georgia is in a distinguished group. For the benefit of our students, we must all continue to rethink assessment in the state of Georgia. I will keep pursuing a change in state law to get state testing requirements in line with the federal minimum, along with a more realistic use of test scores for accountability purposes.”

“We are excited to continue this journey with NAAVY and the other counties participating in the consortium in order to increase student learning, achievement, and college and career readiness,” Crane said. 

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