Dougherty County School System Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Ufot Inyang said Wednesday he was unsure on how the Georgia Department of Education’s new student assessment testing system will affect the DCSS until after he learns more details from the state. The new system, called the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, replaces the CRCT and EOCT for the upcoming school year. (File Photo)
ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Education announced Wednesday that it will implement a new testing system for students, the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones), which be used in the coming 2014-15 academic year.
The new system will replace both the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) and the EOCT (End of Course Tests).
Georgia Milestones will be aligned to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) and will require more from students than the CRCT and EOCT it replaces, state officials say. The testing change is being done to better prepare students for college and career and to provide a more realistic picture of academic progress, officials said.
A major benefit of the new system, state education officials say, is that it is a single, consistent testing program for grades 3-12. Georgia students have been taking a series of individual tests. Georgia Milestones replaces the CRCT in grades 3-8 and the EOCT in grades 9-12.
“We knew this was coming, so it is no surprise to us,” Dougherty County School System Director of Curriculum Ufot Inyang said Wednesday. “Details are very sketchy right now, but we have a webinar on Thursday and Friday which should help answer some of our questions.”
State education officials warned that the increased expectations for student learning reflected in Georgia Milestones may mean initial scores that are than the previous years’ CRCT or EOCT scores. That is to be expected and should bring Georgia’s tests in line with other indicators of how students are performing, Georgia School Superintendent John Barge said.
“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,” Barge said.
The problem, state and local officials say, is that the new testing system is so different from the previous assessments that first-year results can’t be used to compare to previous years’ test results as a gauge of actual progress. Instead, first-year results will become the baseline for future assessments of students’ and districts’ progress.
The new testing system will include open-ended questions, which officials say will better gauge students’ content mastery. With some exceptions for special education students with specific testing accommodations, Georgia Milestones will be administered entirely online by the fifth year of its implementation, compared to 35 percent online administration of the EOCT in the just completed school year.
Last month, the state awarded a $107.8-million, five-year contract to CTB/McGraw-Hill to develop the new testing system.