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APS on its Georgia Milestones scores: Still a lot of work to be done


Atlanta is the first metro system to issue a statement on the performance of its students on the inaugural round of the new Georgia Milestones Tests. District and school scores were released today at 1 p.m. by the state Department of Education.

The results are broken into four categories: "beginning, " which means not proficient (these are the students subject to being held back), and "developing, " " proficient" and "distinguished."

In the state results released in September, only 10 percent of students who took a language arts or science course at any grade level finished in the top category of distinguished learners. In math, 60 percent of all Georgia students scored as beginning or developing learners.

One observation after seeing the APS scores: Charter schools -- with smaller classes and intense focus - are improving Atlanta middle and high school performance. Smaller high school settings also seem to be helping.

Here is the APS statement:

From APS:

The Georgia Department of Education released results today of the

2014-2015 Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments for Atlanta Public Schools.

Nearly two-thirds (63.9 percent) of students in grades 3-8 scored at Developing, Proficient or Distinguished Learner levels on the EOG Milestones for Mathematics.

APS' highest EOC score was in Ninth Grade Literature and Composition, with 70.5 percent of the students scoring at or above the Developing level. The results for American Literature and Composition were similar with 69.3 percent at or above the Developing level. The percentage of students achieving at or above the Developing level for United States History, Coordinate Algebra, Analytic Geometry, and Economics/Business ranged from 54.6 percent to 60.9 percent.

 

In the 2014-2015 school year, the GaDOE completed a transition to new tests in grades 3-8 and eight end-of-course exams. The tests are based on the new Georgia Standards of Excellence and reveal a new level of rigor and increased expectations for Georgia students. The new assessments are also more in line with national standards.

As expected, achievement levels on the Georgia Milestones are lower than the results for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) and End-of-Course Test (EOCT) that were administered across Georgia prior to 2015. Earlier this year, GaDOE announced that these first-year Milestones results will not impact teacher evaluations or the promotion and retention of students.

Unlike the CRCT and EOCT, the Georgia Milestones Assessments measure student performance using four levels: Beginning Learner, Developing Learner, Proficient Learner, and Distinguished Learner.  Each level provides information based on student mastery of content standards. According to State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods, students performing at the Developing Learner level "can proceed to the next grade level or course but will need additional academic support to be successful."

The performance gap between the state and APS ranges from 5.5 percentage points in Ninth Grade Literature and Composition to 29.8 percentage points in Physical Science. APS continues to analyze its performance gaps to inform how to improve student learning.

"Our students are now asked to clear a higher bar as opposed to the previous assessments," said Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen. "It is clear from the results that there is still much work to be done. These are more rigorous and demanding standards. We will continue to support our teachers and invest in their development which is critical to delivering quality instruction and graduating students who are ready for college and career."

APS 2014-2015 Georgia Milestones highlights:

•12 elementary schools had at least 80 percent of students perform at or above the Developing Learner level averaged across all subjects. These schools are Morris Brandon (95 percent), Warren T. Jackson (95 percent), Mary Lin (95 percent), Morningside (95 percent), Springdale Park (93 percent), Atlanta Neighborhood Charter (90 percent), Sarah Smith (89 percent), Atlanta Classical Academy (88 percent), Charles R. Drew Charter (85 percent), E. Rivers (85 percent), The Kindezi School Westlake (84 percent) and West Manor (82 percent).

•Seven middle schools had at least 80 percent of students perform at or above the Developing Learner level averaged across all subjects. They are Kindezi School Westlake (86 percent), Atlanta Classical Academy (84 percent), Inman (84 percent), KIPP STRIVE Academy (83 percent), Charles R. Drew Charter (81 percent), Atlanta Neighborhood Charter (80 percent) and KIPP WAYS Academy (80 percent).

•Five high schools had at least 80 percent of students perform at or above the Developing Learner level in Ninth Grade Literature and Composition. They are Carver Early College (98 percent), Charles R. Drew Charter (96 percent), North Atlanta (88 percent), Grady (86 percent) and Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy (82 percent).

•Four high schools had at least 70 percent of students perform at or above the Developing Learner level in Coordinate Algebra. They are Carver Early College (96 percent), Charles R. Drew Charter (73 percent), KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (72 percent) and North Atlanta (70 percent).


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.