Taking an Honest Assessment of Where We Are
Why will scores likely reflect a smaller percentage of students who are proficient? Because Georgia Milestones sets a significantly higher bar for student proficiency compared to the old Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). That’s not an arbitrary decision. Under the CRCT, Georgia had some of the lowest expectations in the nation for its students. Too many students were labeled as proficient when, in reality, they had not fully mastered the standards and needed additional support. That hurt our kids, who need to be competitive with others across the country and hurt our teachers by making it difficult for them to have a true picture of the academic strengths and weakness of their students.
We have been consistently criticized for having a gap between proficiency on our state tests and proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is considered the gold standard of tests. Many of these reports have appropriately stated that what we require of our students on state tests doesn’t come close to the standard on the NAEP. That is simply unacceptable. If we are going to address students’ needs, then we must be honest about how much they really know.
Again, Georgia Milestones will not show that Georgia’s students know less than they did before. It shows that the bar has been raised, and raising the bar is what we must do to make sure a Georgia student has equal or greater opportunities than a student anywhere else in the United States.
Raising the Bar, Increasing Supports
We will not raise the bar without increasing our supports for students and teachers. By adding additional social studies, science, and early grades positions at the state level, and strengthening professional learning through both in-person and virtual opportunities, we are building a strong foundation on which we can build long-term learning.