Liberty County School System has seen numerous improvements
in school subjects taught throughout the county. LCSS System Testing
Coordinator John Ryan presented the 2016-2017 Georgia Milestone Assessment
System results for all the schools in Liberty County at Tuesday’s Liberty
County Board of Education meeting.
According to Ryan, grades three through five improved in six of eight subject areas. They also averaged higher in four out of eight subject areas than the state and regional education service agencies (RESA).
The middle schools saw growth in five of eight grade subject areas, and there was 8th grade improvement in three of four areas, Ryan said. The high schools gained in algebra, economics, 9th grade Literature, and showed significant gains in physical science, Ryan continued.
“Over and over again, you can see our schools being ranked top of our RESA area,” he said.
For all of LCSS’s academic improvements, there are improvements that need to be addressed, school officials said. According to Ryan, target areas include: grades three and four English; sixth grade English; middle school math; and high school American Literature, U.S. history, and biology—which saw decreases of at least one percentage point.
“This school system isn’t about good things, this school system is about excellence,” Ryan said. “The goal is to sustain continuous improvement in all areas.”
Ryan addressed the deficit the school system encounters with the Georgia Milestone Assessment System (GMAS), which he calls the “Georgia Mortician Assessment System.”
“One of the things we looked at was GMAS,” Ryan said. “At the end of the year, we get all these scores in, and look down at the students, and go, yep, they’re dead.” LCSS is looking to get involved in a group of assessment systems that are beta-testing as a comparison to the GMAS, through Senate Bill 362 of Georgia’s General Assembly. The bill authorized the establishment of an innovative assessment pilot for up to 10 different school systems, according to legis.ga.gov.
“We put in an application with them to talk about us being one of those people,” Ryan said. The system being considered is called NAVVY. What NAVVY does, he said, is it tells school adminstrators where students and teachers are in direct relation to teaching and learning. Developed by an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Educational Psychology, the system is a new way to measure how well students master individual state-mandated standards, instead of standardized testing.
“We sent out a survey to teachers over the summer,” he said. “We asked them what they wanted out of an assessment system. It will replace the district performance assessments already in place in the third through eighth grade, and potentially the ninth grade as well.”
It will prevent a loss of instruction time, and develop a three-step remediation system, allowing the students to re-test a total of two extra times if mastery isn’t achieved on the first assessment, according to Ryan. Between each assessment, teachers will be able to focus on providing remediation in an effort to achieve mastery of that particular standard, he said.
“There’s no getting a report, you’re actually saying— what do they know without you cramming stuff down their throats?” Ryan said.
The system also provides teachers a way to access the student information and pull these results, in order to address each student’s need.
“This system has been piloted in three different counties before us, and it worked,” he said.
LCSS is looking to begin implementing the NAVVY system within the year, and will incorporate other support systems like Performance Matters, new textbooks and digital content, and the MAP system, which is the universal screener administered to all first through ninth graders three times a year.
Editor’s clarification: NAVVY is not replacing the Georgia Milestone Assessment System, which is administered in every school system across the state. NAVVY is an innovative testing tool for the local school system to try in addition to other support systems. The goal is the same; improve student learning and achieve higher academic excellence.