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Higher Learning: What You Should Know Before the School Year Begins

In June, the Georgia Department of Education announced they would be implementing the Georgia Milestone Assessment System during the 2014-2015 academic year.

CTB/McGraw-Hill Education was awarded $107.8 million for a five-year contract to develop the new testing system meant to replace the existing CRCT and EOCT tests in order to prepare students for college, and present a more realistic picture of academic progress over time.

Following closely the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, a major benefit of the testing system is that it is one consistent testing program throughout grades 3-12, as opposed to a series of individual tests each year.

Although there are high expectations for growth in student learning, a new system means a new start for students. The initial scores will be lower than previous years’ CRCT and EOCT scores, relatively speaking. However, the scoring will eventually bring Georgia’s tests in line with other indicators of how students are performing and how prepared they are to enter college or the workforce.

The new system will include open-ended questions, in contrast to the previous multiple-question format. Special accommodations will be made for special education students with an entirely online system by the fifth year of implementation.

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge wants to ensure students are able to compete on a rigorous level instead of a level of minimum competency.

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