Georgia Milestones Update & FAQ

Stan Jester
Board Of Education
District 1

After 14 years of EOCT and CRCT, they were replaced last year with the Georgia Milestones. The Georgia Milestones are aligned with Common Core and were touted as a tougher, more rigorous test.
DeKalb Schools’ Division of Curriculum & Instruction consists of school programs, as well as special services, professional learning, educational media, career technology, assessment and accountability, and school improvement. Cynthia Brictson is the iDeputy Superintendent of this department. Parents have been anxiously awaiting the results of the Georgia Milestones. I recently asked Ms Brictson for an update on these student assessments.

Cynthia Brictson

Cynthia Bricston
iDeputy Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction

The GaDOE released 2014-2015 Georgia Milestone (EOG and EOC) results to school districts beginning November 2, 2015. DeKalb’s Research, Assessment, and Grants department distributed to each school that participated in these assessments their student’s Individual Score Reports, Class Summaries, and School Summaries. In order to allow districts time to analyze both sets of data, the GaDOE will not release EOG and EOC data for schools and districts until Monday, November 16 to the general public. [Below is a FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions] regarding these assessments.

Georgia Milestones Assessment System
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Georgia Milestones Assessment System?
The Georgia Milestones Assessment System is a comprehensive assessment system spanning grades 3 through high school. Georgia Milestones measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state-adopted content standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Students in grades 3 through 8 will take the End-of-Grade (EOG) measures in each content area, while high school students will take the appropriate End-of-Course (EOC) measure for the ten identified courses.
Why did Georgia change assessments?
Georgia changed assessments because the former testing programs were in existence for over a decade and no longer met the needs of students, parents, schools, and districts. Georgia Milestones replaced each of the following individual tests: the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), End of Course Tests (EOCT), and the Georgia Writing Assessments. Georgia Milestones reduces the number of state-mandated tests students take as a result. Further, Georgia Milestones includes open-ended test items in addition to multiple choice items allowing students to demonstrate more clearly what they know. The system also allows Georgia to send a signal of college and career readiness for each of our students.
What value does Georgia Milestones bring to our state and its students?
Under the former testing programs, Georgia had some of the lowest achievement expectations in the nation. Georgia’s commitment to providing a truer picture of student achievement was a paramount consideration in the development of the new assessment. Historically, Georgia has been portrayed as a state with one of the largest “honesty gaps” based on the information its former testing programs provided. In short, Georgia Milestones provides a more accurate view of where we are as a state and where we need to focus our attention to ensure all students are successful and can compete with their peers from across our nation.
What are some key differences between previous state tests and Georgia Milestones assessments?
The inclusion of open-ended test items in English Language Arts and Mathematics allowing students to explain their answers is a significant change for Georgia. These items, including the assessment of writing as part of the English Language Arts tests, provide students the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their understanding relative to the standards being assessed. Georgia Milestones contains four Achievement Levels rather than just three as was the case with the previous CRCT, EOCT, and Writing Assessments. This allows students, parents, and schools to have a more precise indication of student achievement.
What are the achievement levels for Georgia Milestones?
Georgia Milestones reports student achievement in four levels – Distinguished Learner, Proficient Learner, Developing Learner, and Beginning Learner.
Beginning Learners: These students do not yet demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students need substantial academic support to be prepared for the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.
Developing Learners: These students demonstrate partial proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this course of learning, as specified by Georgia’s content standards. The students need additional academic support to ensure success in the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.
Proficient Learners: These students demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students are prepared for the next grade level or course and are on track for college and career readiness.
Distinguished Learners: These students demonstrate advanced proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students are well prepared for the next grade level or course and are prepared for college and career readiness.
How do test scores this year compare to those of previous years?
Scores from Georgia Milestones cannot, and should not, be compared to those provided by Georgia’s previous tests. Georgia Milestones will reflect four Achievement Levels rather than just three and will also provide English Language Arts scores that include information about reading, writing, and language skills rather than separate scores in those areas as was the case in the past. In short, scores from Georgia Milestones are different from those provided for the CRCT and EOCT.
I heard that the Georgia Milestones is harder than our previous tests and that state results are lower this year than in previous years. Is this true? Does this mean that students are doing worse?
Georgia Milestones’ preliminary state-level results did, in fact, indicate that fewer students in Georgia will score as proficient. This does not mean that Georgia’s students know less, or are performing worse, than in recent years. In fact, many indicators, such as Georgia’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), SAT, and ACT scores, have shown improvement on the part of Georgia’s students. The achievement standards (expectations) recommended by Georgia educators for Georgia Milestones simply reflect the greater demands of today’s academic, college, and career settings and the stiff competition that students will face as they move into their post-secondary experiences and/or the workforce after high school.

4 responses to “Georgia Milestones Update & FAQ

  1. Cut scores were set before the Milestones were written, implemented and administered to children.
    Junk science for profit!
    Buckle your seatbelts for mass failure, predetermined by corp profiteers to support increased privatization (charters) of public schools, here in GA and across the Nation.
    This is not about the quality of teaching, performance of our children or quality of schools. The consistent predictor of high test scores is the income of the parents. We have that data, going back decades.
    Our data now predicts that teachers are forced to do nothing but test-prep, and students are not receiving adequate time for real instruction. US mass testing is one HUGE profitable business for billionaires…whose own children are in private schools where they actually teach and learn without months of lost instructional time devoted to mass testing.
    Junk science for profit! Our children are losing and so are their teachers who will be evaluated and fired according to those scores. Experienced and credentialed teachers are very expensive, where as TFA 22 year olds are cheap, passing through, and ask little. Great country of ours…

  2. Please point me to the “cut scores” that were set.
    Please tell me about the corporate profiteers in DeKalb as it relates to charters. If you want to see exorbitant profits, take a gander at the salaries of the executive administrations for all the metro public schools.
    While I believe we test way too much, I say it stems from the command and control centralization of education.
    Hasta La Vista CRCT and EOCT
    Georgia agreed to go to a new test and raise its threshold for passing when it sought a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal education law. Unlike CRCT and EOCT, Georgia Milestones were aligned with Common Core. Also, state educators said the comparatively low average scores on national tests such as the SAT was indicative of the low threshold for meeting the state’s standards and wasn’t doing Georgia students any favors.

  3. GA predicted and warned a 30%ile drop – increasing failures before the Milestones were administered. These cut scores are set to actually fail a higher number of children & subsequently their teachers.
    Stan, please take time to read the latest public education privatization information by researchers and bloggers : Anthony Cody, Diane Ravitch, Mercedes Schneider, Carol Burris, John Thompson, Nancy E. Bailey, Jack Hassard, Jamaal A. Bowman, John Merrow, and many more respected educators across the US who have published articles and books about the ‘Reformers’ billionaires making billions on the toxic testing and privatization -charters, using public taxpayer $M, without accountability. There are some quality charters with ethical leaders. Many, many more are cash cows for corporations & many close due to fraud. Doors closed, $$ gone, kids return to public schools. Chaos!
    Stan, you may be new to this info. Many of us have followed the billionaires and corp profiteers for years now. Hope you bone up on this.

  4. I agree that the Georgia Milestones were designed to be a more rigorous test and the GaDOE predicted the scores would be lower than the previous CRCT and EOCT scores. I’m just not familiar with the set cut scores you referred to. Can you point me to those?
    I’m close to the charters in DeKalb and was hoping we could discuss the specifics about the privatization and profiteering you were referring to as it relates to DeKalb. My point is the big profits made by people in the traditional school district (and contractors for that matter), charters aren’t necessary to make a pretty penny.
    What are your thoughts about how charters are cash cows? Who is making the money, how much and how is that any different than the cash cow that is traditional schools?
    By the way, it’s a nice change of pace to have a philosophical discussion on principles.