Students poised for new GA Milestones Test
by Celia Shortt
With their strong performance on the 2014 Criterion Reference Competency Test and the 2014 End of Course Test, Coweta students are poised to take on the new Georgia Milestones test this school year.
“This is an important year for us in regards to assessment,” said Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker at the July Coweta Board of Education meeting, following the release of the 2014 CRCT results.
This new testing system, the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, was announced in June by state officials and will replace both the current assessments used for students, the CRCTs and EOCTs. It will also be aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards and require more from students than the previous testing systems.
“Some of those changes are taking place next year,” Barker told the school board. “There’s going to be a different report, a different scoring mechanism.”
One of the changes will be more open-ended questions on the test.
The State Board of Education said in the June press release, announcing the new testing system, that an open ended type of question will “better gauge students’ content mastery.”
Testing coordinator for the Coweta County School System, Dr. Peggy Guebert, said CCSS has been anticipating this new test for about a year.
“It’s going to be a much more rigorous test,” said Guebert.
The reason for the increased rigor is to look for better indicators for student readiness after graduation to enter college or the workplace.
“We need to know that students are being prepared, not at a minimum-competency level but with rigorous, relevant education, to enter college, the workforce or the military at a level that makes them competitive with students from other states,” said Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge in the June press release.
Barge also said the “increased expectations for student learning” in the new test may mean lower scores in the first year than previous CRCT or EOCT scores.
“With it being new, we know there will be lower scores, but those will be statewide,” said Guebert.
The new test will also be completely online in the next five years, with more of the test being online each year until then.
Guebert says CCSS has had a “very positive experience” with the online testing they have done so far, and the recent technology plan approved by the school board includes the necessary upgrades for the complete test to be online.
“It will positively impact technology in school,” she said. “The testing administration and testing security online will be much better.”
The state of Georgia awarded a $107.8 million, five-year contract to CTB/McGraw-Hill on May 28 to develop the new testing system.