Georgia students showed strong gains on the spring 2019 Georgia Milestones assessments. Scores increased or held steady on 25 of 26 assessments – the strongest overall gains recorded in the five years the assessment has been administered. The percentage of students reading on grade level or above increased or held steady in every tested grade and both English language arts high school courses.
For the 148 ninth grade students tested in Liberty County in Literature and Composition, 83.1 percent tested at or above grade level, according to the Georgia Department of Education. In Long County, 132 ninth graders were tested in that subject; 76.5 percent tested at or above grade level, according to the DOE.
“A strong K-12 education system is essential to keeping Georgia the best state in the nation to live, work, and raise a family,” Governor Brian Kemp said. “These strong results show impressive improvements in Georgia’s public schools, and I commend the educators and students of our state for their hard work.”
“We continue to see increased student performance across indicators – from Georgia Milestones to the SAT and ACT, graduation rate, and the number of students finishing high school with an industry-recognized credential,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “This is a testament to the hard work of Georgia’s teachers and students, and an increasing focus on educating the whole child and providing a genuinely well-rounded education. While these gains are worth celebrating, we cannot be all about the test – our job is to prepare students for life. I continue to support a reduction of state assessment requirements to the federal minimum, and more realistic and reasonable accountability requirements.”
Specifically, the percentage of students achieving the Proficient Learner level and above increased or held steady on 25 of 26 End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) assessments, compared to 22 of 26 assessments in 2018. The only assessment for which the percentage of students achieving the Proficient Learner designation was lower saw a one-point drop compared to 2018. Students who achieve the Proficient Learner designation are considered on track to being college- and career-ready.
The largest increases were recorded in ninth-grade literature (increased 9 points), sixth-grade ELA (increased 7 points), third-grade math (increased 6 points) and third-grade ELA (increased 5 points).
Georgia Milestones’ Reading Status measurement – a Lexile score derived from reading and vocabulary questions on the ELA assessment – showed that the percentage of students reading on grade level or above increased or held steady in every tested grade and both English language arts high school courses. The largest increases were recorded in third grade (5 points), seventh grade (4 points), and ninth grade literature and composition (4 points).
The third-grade increase is particularly notable given the long-term impact of students’ ability to read on grade level by third grade.
Students began taking Georgia Milestones assessments in 2014-15. The testing system is one comprehensive program across grades 3-12, which includes open-ended and technology-enhanced questions to better gauge students’ content mastery. The assessment was administered 100 percent online for the first time in the 2018-19 school year (with the exception of students who require a paper/pencil test as an accommodation).