Testing is always met with apprehension, and that’s only heightened when issues arise. I take the responsibility of overseeing testing seriously, and want to provide a look at the process.
One of the most glaring lines of apprehension has been the concern that students are over-tested. Thanks to Senate Bill 364, eight Milestones tests will be eliminated and Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) will be greatly reduced or eliminated. The Milestones tests are now stronger and more accurate than the previous CRCT/EOCT in measuring student achievement as they align expectations with nationally recognized assessments, such as NAEP.
When issues with the End of Grade (EOG) assessments arose this spring, I recommended – and the State Board approved – a waiver from using EOG scores for promotion/retention. I’m fully committed to a hold-harmless period for the use of test scores in teacher/leader evaluations and labeling additional schools as Priority or Focus.
Technical issues have occurred as we continue to move towards an online testing system. One such statewide event occurred on April 19. The issue was quickly identified and our testing vendor provided a solution within hours. I’ve received continual updates and our testing team has worked tirelessly to remain on call for districts.
Students and parents sat attentively Thursday while Georgia state School Superintendent Richard Woods read the book “The Day the Crayons Quit” at Washington Memorial Library in Macon.
Woods cracked jokes and engaged the audience with colorful commentary as a way to promote literacy during the summer.
The library hosted Woods, state librarian Julie Walker and Bibb County schools Superintendent Curtis Jones to mark the beginning of the Middle Georgia Regional Library System’s summer reading program.
Woods said he wants to promote the importance of literacy and maintaining reading levels throughout the summer.
“Reading doesn’t just stop at the end of school,” Woods said. “It needs to continue on during the summer.”
He and his staff want to cut down on reading loss that happens throughout the summer months as students take a break from school. Up to three months of reading ability can be lost, according to the Georgia Department of Education.
Read more here: http://www.macon.com/news/local/education/article81343437.html#storylink=cpy
As this guidance does not have the force of law, you are not required to comply with this directive or make changes to your established actions and policies. However, if the federal government does decide to withhold federal funds, enforce this directive, or bring suit against any district in Georgia because of a decision a local district makes, we will work with all parties to take appropriate action.
Richard Woods, Georgia's School Superintendent
State School Superintendent Richard Woods issued guidance today to school districts regarding the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague Letter.” Earlier this week, Governor Nathan Deal asked Superintendent Woods to “provide guidance to those local school systems seeking assistance and clarity on this issue in order to ensure that there will be as much uniformity across our state as possible.” The below email was sent to all school district superintendents.
To read message, click on "Read more" below.
When students don’t read during the summer months, they lose educational ground: research shows that students can lose up to three months of reading ability over the summer. This phenomenon – known as summer loss – can lower achievement potential and widen the achievement gap.
Fortunately, this summer reading loss is preventable. Research shows that children who read during the summer don’t suffer the same losses, and may even show some growth in their reading ability.
To ensure students and families have the support they need to make literacy a priority this summer, the Georgia Department of Education is working to get books in the hands of as many students as possible, through summer reading events, resources, and the donation of more than 100,000 books.
Statewide summer reading resources
Students can visit summerreading.gadoe.org to log the books they read this summer. We’ll keep track of books read and recognize winning students, schools, and districts.
Georgia’s public libraries also have summer reading programs and activities throughout the summer, and we encourage students to utilize this resource and sign up for a library card.Click here to find your local library.
For those who have access to a digital device, students also have access to more than 10,000 free e-books all summer, thanks to a partnership between myON and Get Georgia Reading. Visit getgeorgiareading.org/myon2016 for directions on how to access these books.
Thanks to a partnership with Change 4 Georgia, Better World Books, and Scholastic, the GaDOE is donating 100,000+ books to Georgia students this summer. Of that total, 25,000 books will go to Georgia’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, community centers that operate outside of school hours, including during the summer. The remainder will be distributed through the Georgia Food Bank Association and other organizations, as well as through summer reading events hosted by the GaDOE.
Summer reading events
The GaDOE is hosting summer reading events for students at several public libraries throughout the state this summer. Members of the public are encouraged to attend these events, which will feature summer reading activities and programming along with an opportunity to receive free books.
More info: http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=437_
Woods seeks another hold harmless year for the impact of test scores on Georgia students and teachers
"I am committed to a responsible approach to accountability that ensures public trust."
-- Richard Woods, Georgia's School Superintendent
The State Board of Education today granted a waiver of promotion, placement, and retention requirements tied to the 2016 administration of the Georgia Milestones End of Grade (EOG) tests.
During this year's administration of the Georgia Milestones EOG tests, some local school districts reported technology-related interruptions of online testing. While some of these events were short-term and quickly resolved, with minimal impact on student experiences, others required more extensive technical support. The GaDOE believes that further analysis of the possible impacts of these interruptions is warranted prior to the release of student scores, given the stakes involved for students.
"I am committed to a responsible approach to accountability that ensures public trust in the process. Given the technology issues experienced by some students during the online administration of the Georgia Milestones EOGs, we believe it is best to proceed with caution when it comes to basing promotion, placement and retention on the outcome of the tests," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said.
"While many districts tested online without a major incident, in the interests of our students, we asked the State Board of Education for a waiver of the promotion, placement and retention portion of the rule."
State law requires that students in grade three earn an At/Above Grade Level designation in reading to be promoted to fourth grade. In grades five and eight, state law requires that students earn an At/Above Grade Level designation in reading, as well as score in the Developing Learner achievement level or above in mathematics to be promoted to the next grade. These are the promotion, placement, and retention requirements being waived for the 2016 EOG administration. Some local school systems have additional promotion criteria, and this waiver will not preclude school districts from applying local policies and protocols for promotion and retention decisions for individual students.
Pending the approval of the Educator Effectiveness Committee, student growth will be held harmless for the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES)/Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES) this year, and will not count next year with the revised evaluation system. The Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) component of the TKES and the Leader Assessment on Performance Standards (LAPS) component of the LKES will continue to be the sole measure used to determine the performance rating of teachers of record and leaders reported by employing school systems and charter schools to the GaPSC for certification purposes.
In an effort to help fix this issue and alleviate some of the obstacles schools face when attempting to provide healthy food options, the GDA and the state Department of Education implemented theGeorgia Grown Feed My School for a Week program in 2011.
Feed My School for a Week helps raise the nutritional value and quality of food provided in schools. It also bridges the communication gap between the farm and cafeteria so there is better access to locally grown products. For one week, participating schools serve lunches comprised of 75-100percent Georgia Grown items. They also arrange events that allow students to engage in activities such as taste testing.
This year, Mountain View Elementary, Nahunta Primary, A. Dorothy Hains Elementary, Lyons Upper Elementary, C.J. Hicks Elementary, Banks County Elementary, A.L. Burruss Elementary, and Greater Atlanta Christian School will be added to the program for a total of 27 participants.
Read more: http://www.gpb.org/blogs/education-matters/2016/05/06/feed-my-school-for-week-adds-eight-more-schools
Statement from State School Superintendent Richard Woods regarding Governor Deal’s signature of Senate Bill 364:
"I want to thank Governor Deal for signing Senator Lindsey Tippins’ bill – SB 364 – today. This law will change the landscape of Georgia education by reducing the number of state-mandated tests students must take and by reducing the percentage that student test scores count for teachers’ and leaders’ evaluations. This law will allow our teachers to be creative and teach rather than focus on just a test. I firmly believe this law will help remove many of the barriers that have caused more of our teachers to leave the profession and fewer young people to choose teaching as a profession. I also want to thank all the stakeholders who came together to express their support during the legislative process and for sharing the importance of this legislation with their local legislators.”
New state ratings of schools released Tuesday show improvement at many schools the state had considered among Georgia’s worst, but they show, too, that some schools will now be added to that list.
Ending up on that list of Georgia’s consistently lowest performing schools — schools receiving an F or lower for three consecutive years — would make a school eligible for state takeover if voters approve Gov. Nathan Deal’sOpportunity School District plan this fall. The plan would allow the state to take up to 20 schools from that list each year and close them, run them itself or convert them to charter schools.
Statewide, there are now 127 schools eligible for a potential state takeover, according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. That’s down from 139 last year. But the same handful of districts still have the lion’s share of schools eligible for potential takeover.
Read more: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/new-state-ratings-show-fewer-schools-among-georgia/nrGjk/?icmp=AJC_internallink_542016_AJCtoMyAJC_ccrpi_scores_