Scores from the 2014-15 administration of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones in grades 3-8 and Georgia Milestones End of Course, or EOC, in grades 9-12) were released Monday, November 16. These scores reflect the first administration of Georgia’s new comprehensive testing system, which has significantly increased the rigor and the level of expectation placed upon Georgia’s students.
Thomaston-Upson School System Superintendent Dr. Maggie V. Shook stated, “As was expected, our students, along with students throughout the state, struggled with the Georgia Milestones assessments. This is a new test that, in addition to multiple choice questions, includes constructed response and extended response items, requiring students to generate their own responses rather than select from a list of possible answers. It also assesses the students’ writing across each grade and course.”
Georgia Milestones assessments are aligned with Georgia’s content standards and have set the bar much higher for student learning. Consequently, these test results cannot be compared to previous CRCT results. The Georgia Milestones Assessment System categorizes student performance into four levels – Beginning Learners: do not yet demonstrate proficiency at grade/course level; Developing Learners: demonstrate partial proficiency at grade/course level; Proficient Learners: demonstrate proficiency at grade/course level; Distinguished Learners: demonstrate advanced proficiency at grade/course level.
Thomaston-Upson Schools’ students in grades 3-8 posted some of their highest scores in Science. TU elementary and middle students outperformed both state and Griffin RESA averages for percentage of students achieving proficient and distinguished learner status in 3rd grade Science (34.8%); 4th grade Science (36.1%) 4th grade Mathematics (43.5%); 4th grade Social Studies (38.4%); 5th grade Science (39.6%); 6th grade Science (42.1%); 8th grade Science (32.6%); and 8th grade Social Studies (35.5%). As a group, ULNE 4thgraders posted the best scores, outperforming state and Griffin RESA averages in Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. In all, T-U students in grades 3-8 exceeded state averages in 8 of 24 assessments and exceeded Griffin RESA averages in 10 of 24 assessments.
On the Milestones End of Course Assessments, Upson-Lee High School students outperformed state and Griffin RESA averages for the percentage of students scoring proficient and above in U.S. History (39.9%). They fell slightly short of the state average in Physical Science, but surpassed the Griffin RESA average. ULHS students fell below state and Griffin RESA averages in American Literature & Composition with a low score of 15.9% proficient learner and above. In all, ULHS students exceeded the state average in only 1 of 8 Milestones End of Course assessments and exceeded the Griffin RESA average in 3 of 8 EOCs.
Literacy has been an area of concern and focus for the Thomaston-Upson School System. In March of 2014, the system secured a $2.3 million Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant to advance literacy skills for children and students birth – grade 12. This school year, the system implemented a new reading program and has a sustained system-wide focus on literacy teaching and learning. “These scores validate our concerns and our efforts to improve reading and reading comprehension in our schools,” Dr. Shook stated. “Some of the lowest scores posted by T-U students were in English/Language Arts (E/LA) and Literature and Composition. Literacy was and will continue to be a major area of focus for T-U Schools.”
Superintendent Shook continued, “Our goal is proficient or better for all students in all grade levels and courses; and, while these scores are disappointing, we will use them to inform our decisions about instruction, professional development, and curricular alignment.”
A complete listing of schools and districts Milestones data may be accessed at the link below:
Karen Truesdale is the School and Community Relations Director for the Thomaston-Upson School System.