Top 10 questions about the new Georgia Milestones tests
- What is the Georgia Milestones Assessment System?
Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the Georgia Department of Education will use a new testing system to replace the End-of-Course tests (EOCT) and Criterion-Referenced Competency tests (CRCT). The new testing system, developed by the state of Georgia, is named the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones). The Georgia Milestones will be aligned to the state’s Common Core Georgia Performance Standards to better prepare students for college and career.
- What grade levels and content areas will be tested on the new state test?
Students in grades 3-12 will be assessed by the Georgia Milestones. In grades 3-8, students will be given end-of-grade (EOG) tests in language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. High school students will be given Georgia Milestones end-of-course (EOC) tests in ninth-grade literature and composition, American literature and composition, coordinate algebra, analytic geometry, physical science, biology, U.S. history, and economics.
- How is the Georgia Milestones different from the EOCT and CRCT?
On the new Georgia Milestones, students in grades 3-12 will be assessed using one test rather than a series of individual tests. When students took the CRCT previously, a separate test was given for reading, language arts and writing. In addition, at the high school level, students were given the EOCT and writing assessment. Now, reading, language arts and writing have been combined to align more directly with the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. In addition, the Georgia Milestones will include open-ended questions to determine how well students have mastered the content that they have been taught in all content areas. The test will also include questions that require students to provide elaborate answers to explain their answers or reasoning. Since Georgia Milestones will include writing in all grade levels, students will no longer take the grades 3, 5, and 8 writing assessments. Moreover, some tested items will have more than one correct answer.
- Why is the change to the Georgia Milestones necessary?
The Georgia Milestones will determine how well students have mastered the state standards and how prepared students are for college and careers. These new tests will also better support Georgia students, as they compete with their peers in the United States and other countries. The Georgia Milestones will also give educators more information about how students might perform on other tests, such as the SAT or ACT.
- How will this state-developed test compare Georgia students to students in other states?
The Georgia Milestones will include test items that the Georgia Department of Education can use to compare how Georgia’s students responded versus how students in other states responded to similar test items.
- Will the Georgia Milestones be given to students online?
The Georgia Milestones will transition to an online assessment over a five-year period. In the first year, it is expected that 30 percent of students will take the test online. By Year 3, it is expected that 80 percent of students will take the assessment online. By Year 5, the expectation is that 100 percent of students will be tested online. However, the Georgia Department of Education will provide paper/pencil versions for the small number of students who cannot use a computer as a result of a disability. Braille forms will also be available for students who need them.
The Georgia Department of Education has informed Atlanta Public Schools that the vendor for our Georgia Milestones Assessment System online component (CTB McGraw-Hill), updated their testing client (CTV) for the assessment on January 8, 2015. This update is not compatible with our district’s current technology infrastructure (Citrix VDI environment) for the 2014-2015 school year. The State is continuing to work on upgrades and a solution to this compatibility issue.
The Georgia Milestones End of Grade and End of Course assessments will be administered using paper and pencil for all of our APS schools, including our charter schools. Atlanta Public Schools will continue to administer our state assessments with the highest security possible. Atlanta Public Schools is working with Georgia Department of Education to move towards online administrations in future years.
- How will students be prepared for this online test?
The Georgia Department of Education will create an online practice center. Atlanta Public Schools has been administering some assessments online since 2012. APS will continue to offer these online assessments and will work toward more opportunities for students to receive additional support and guidance for these online tests.
- What support has been provided to teachers?
Atlanta Public Schools began planning for this transition to the next generation assessment in 2012. Teachers and principals received training on developing quality assessments during the 2013-14 school year. In the 2014-15 school year, APS will continue to provide face-to-face and online professional development opportunities and coaching support to teachers and principals, as the schools system prepares for this new assessment. In addition, APS curriculum and assessment staff will provide sample items that are similar to the items that students can expect on the Georgia Milestones. These sample items will be made available to teachers and principals. Teachers will also provide students with opportunities to practice on test items that are similar to those from the Georgia Milestones.
- When will students in Atlanta Public Schools take the Georgia Milestones?
December 2014 will be the first time the Georgia Milestones will be administered to students. For information about specific test dates, please review the complete testing calendar for the 2014-2015 school year.
10. How can I support my child, as he/she prepares to take this test?
Discuss the new tests with your child. Explain that the purpose of the tests is to determine how well the child understands the material that he/she has been taught. Explain that the new tests will also give teachers and schools information about areas in which your child needs additional support. Visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website to view sample test items. Review these test items with your child to help increase his/her confidence about taking the new tests.