It’s now official in my view: 2016 Georgia Milestones are a mess

The state school chief acknowledges serious problems in getting test scores back to high schools, meaning kid are not getting final grades yet.

I think we can officially declare the 2016 Milestones a mess, something teachers knew a month ago:

From the Cobb Schools website:

CCSD Cancels Milestones Retest in Grades 3, 5, and 8 Due to State Delay Returning Results

The Cobb County School District continues to wait on the Georgia Department of Education to provide student results to the district and local schools.  We strongly believe that the retest opportunity is important to both students and schools.

In our 2014 retest administration 40% of students who retested in math passed on the second attempt, and 34% of the students who retested in reading passed on the second attempt.  Both our students and teachers have worked hard over the past three weeks to continue addressing any learning gaps, and we remain convinced that students deserve and can benefit from a second opportunity.

Despite the benefits of retesting, we cannot keep our schools, children, or families in limbo any longer.  Due to the state’s continued delay in returning student results, the Cobb County School District has decided to cancel the originally scheduled plan to retest.

 

Reader Comments 0

56 comments
JeanLE
JeanLE

My son was not allowed to use his school rental calculator he was very comfortable with; instead he had inadequate training on the online calculator! Yet, his friend within the same school said he was allowed to use his own personal calculator! That should invalidate these test results in and of itself. Also, he got his Biology milestone score back yesterday, but the math teacher said he hasn't received his scores from the state yet. The whole thing is a bad joke.

NewName
NewName

I don't understand why the scores were thrown out for the younger grades, but are still being used for high school?!?


The testing issues were the same regardless of grade level. Is this not courting a lawsuit?


Please remember whose administration brought you these standardized tests to measure "personalized learning" and how much money has been thrown away now. It's time for a new beginning in GA.

jerryeads
jerryeads

Some years ago one of the brightest, most competent measurement Ph.Ds I've ever known ran testing downtown. One year the link between the last year's and current year's social studies tests blew up (meaning the pass rate was a bit more off than usual (normal variation from year to year can cause as much as a percentage point or two change in the pass rate)). The halfwits then in charge made him fall on the sword.

Wonder what they'll do downtown this year?

Terri Franssen
Terri Franssen

Can we g back to the good old days when math was math and drivers education was taught in schools! When every morning we said the Pledge of Allegiance and instead of officers being in our schools, parents were called?! Whats wrong with our politicians?!

NewName
NewName

We do say the Pledge each morning and parents are called. I do agree with you about Driver's Ed though.

high-school-teacher
high-school-teacher

While we're on the subject of EOCs, let me point out that a passing score for high school EOCs is an 80 instead of a 70. If you see scores published and the percent of passing students seems low, it's because the passing scores only include 80 and above. Over half of my students scored in the 70-79 band, which for some of them (and for me) is a huge accomplishment.

kdbugalpha
kdbugalpha

@high-school-teacher Do you mean a proficient score is an 80+, and anything between  70 and 79 is a developing learner? My son attends one of the top N Fulton high schools, his SAT score is 50 above the College Ready benchmark for Reading, and yet he scored a 77 on his Am Lit Milestone. He says he does not know anyone in his on level college prep class (not honors, not AP) who scored above an 80. Many of these kids will drop a letter grade in his class due to this final (A to B). However I think the SAT is more valid measure for Reading and Writing skills than this unvalidated test scored by $12 temp workers.

Paige Reese
Paige Reese

Henry County has had lots of issues with the computers and material on the test that the students haven't learned yet. It's ridiculous the 20 percent needs to be waived.

ChrisJones
ChrisJones

EDIT  Nevermind.  I only just grasped the part where only the state-level retention guidance was waived and that local districts may impose additional requirements for minimum scores to pass the grade.  I'm of the opinion that all of those should have been waived this year in all districts.

Grifzoo Griffiths-Family
Grifzoo Griffiths-Family

So far my 9th grade daughters' scores are not back and today is the last day of school. They had to postpone the second day of the math EOC twice due to issues and finally had to take the test AFTER school to get it done. I am greatly concerned that my "A" student will not be an "A" student after the test, especially because in our county, Camden County, they count ALL EOC's at 30%!!

MsTAdams
MsTAdams

Georgia Milestones has been a complete and utter failure and a waste of precious taxpayer education funds. The legislators have failed our students in  the  state of Georgia. 

Amy Blafer
Amy Blafer

My son took the paper pencil tests and his results still are not back. We have been told that no one has any idea when the results will be back. School ends next Thursday. If the scores do not make it back by the end of the year, he will have 3 incomplete grades. Not exactly the fast turnaround promised by the State.

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

Great question! Ask on GADOE fb page. It damn sure shouldn't be the students who are held accountable for the official's ineptitude. The 20% needs to be waived statewide. And no more of this "counties can decide either way individually".

Kelland Waldrep
Kelland Waldrep

The Milestones have been a disaster from the inception. The same person is in charge of CCRPI. Which as also been a disaster. WHEN will someone's head roll over this mess. The people at the top should be held accountable. They want to hold teachers and students accountable, but not themselves.

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

We have kids who will be "graduating" without knowing if they've actually graduated!! Throw out the 20%. This is beyond the embarrassing point.

Tom Green
Tom Green

So, who will be held accountable for the testing fiasco?

Tom Green
Tom Green

And the other 50% should be based on the turn-around time of the test results.

Jennifer Schmidt
Jennifer Schmidt

If only 50% of their evaluation was based in this mess. What's good for the goose, right?

Peter_Smagorinsky
Peter_Smagorinsky

Be careful Maureen, you will be accused of being anti-accountability by posting opinions like this.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

I wanted to share some of the comments from AJC Get Schooled Facebook:

-We had no issues.at least at my HS in Gwinnett. Tested Monday and had scores by Wednesday.

-Other counties need to follow Fulton's lead and request a waiver/hold harmless from the GABOE. The irregularities are numerous, all over the state, from technology issues, to what calculators were allowed, to students having their test answers lost in a crash who got to look up additional information and retest the next day. Nothing about this test is valid! EVERYBODY should be contacting the GABOE to demand that this be another HOLD HARMLESS year!

-My daughter has not received her scores back, but she did have testing issues with her mandated online calculator on her Geometry Milestones test. A report was made to the school and the school allegedly made a report to the state. I have heard nothing back from anyone. In my opinion, whatever her score is it should not be a valid score due to faulty equipment and non-standardized use of being able to use a personal calculator.

-My son had crashing issues with all three portions of his EOC...in ELA he had to rewrite an entire essay in 10 minutes because the test crashed in his entire school. How is that fair or valid?? This is 20%...his future at stake!! Not acceptable and should not be counted! If the lower grades doesn't count then how is it any better in the higher grades?

-Polk County High Schools used stand-alone calculators due to the faulty online calculators. We also experienced Software and/or hardware glitches using iPads. High school kids were forced to stop and change out iPads. Our students completed EOC test yesterday, graduation takes place next Friday. In my mind, even if the software did work properly the schedule leaves no time to properly grade and retest.


https://www.facebook.com/ajcgetschooled/

two cents worth
two cents worth

How about this measure?  Administer ITBS (achievement test) and COGAT (ability test) to same students. (every year or  grades 1,3,5,7) If a school, class, or child is achieving beyond their ability, the school, teacher and child are doing a great job.  If the child, class, school is achieving  BELOW the ability score, then everyone involved needs to up their game. Eliminate all other state testing and the related fees. That seems like a simple measure that everyone can understand and explain to a parent, child, or community member.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@two cents worth Unfortunately, how well a student does is only party attributable to IQ, and only a TINY part attributable to which teacher s/he has.

NewName
NewName

@Wascatlady @two cents worth Kids in stable homes, who are fed, loved and have regular and appropriate bedtimes tend to do better. Sadly, that's what we're measuring a great deal of the time. Agreed, this has very little to do with teachers. 

Tina Deems Lanier
Tina Deems Lanier

Polk County High Schools used stand alone calculators due to the faulty online calculators. We also experienced Software and/or hardware glitches using iPads. High school kids were forced to stop and change out iPads. Our students completed EOC test yesterday, graduation takes place next Friday. In my mind, even if the software did work properly the schedule leaves no time to properly grade and retest.

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

So not right to hold these kid's futures to 20% of an UNVALIDATED Non-Standardized test.

Ruth Zackowitz Hartman
Ruth Zackowitz Hartman

Sooooo... AJC Get Schooled, Polk county USED calculators. Fulton county students weren't allowed to use their own calculator. GA Cyber academy allowed students to use calculators. How is this fair? How can we compare apples to apples??

crensmith
crensmith

My daughter goes to Ga cyber academy.  she couldnt use a calculator

kaelyn
kaelyn

I still don't understand why the ITBS can't be the gold standard for the elementary and middle school kids. You NEVER hear of any problems with that test. It's been around for decades and it's administered throughout the entire country. This state should also consider using the ACT or SAT as a graduation requirement. Students could elect to take the tests in the fall of their senior year and the results would be back in a matter of weeks. Bingo! No more May "surprises."

I swear every year it just gets worse with testing. It seems like the tests are given just for the sake of giving them.

Another comment
Another comment

So, that is what average is Ed Johnson. 50% are above average and 50% are below average. What Georgia doesn't want this because it is a national test and Georgia students would not fare well.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@kaelyn

The ITBS is a norm-referenced test.  This means roughly 50 percent of test takers are MADE to do better than an average hypothetical student and roughly 50 percent of test takers are MADE to do worse than the average hypothetical student.


When too many test takers start doing better than the average hypothetical student, the ITBS is "re-normed" to once again FORCE the roughly 50 percent above, roughly 50 percent below outcome.


Thus the ITBS makes it impossible for there to ever be a majority of test takers achieving excellence or any rating above average.

Legong
Legong

@kaelyn 

The daily articles here attacking testing and accountability, using any convenient pretext, aren't any accident.

If we were ever to use the ITBS to assess teachers or schools, the labor bosses who ghost-write this blog would quickly turn on it.

NewName
NewName

@taylor48 @Legong @kaelyn It is, but so are IQ scores, so are the percentages for the SAT, so are AP Tests. 


What are you seeking to measure?

Carol Mobley
Carol Mobley

My son had crashing issues with all 3 portions of his EOC...in ELA he had to rewrite an entire essay in 10 minutes because the test crashed in his entire school. How is that fair or valid?? This is 20%...his future at stake!! Not acceptable and should not be counted!!! If the lower grades doesn't count then how is it any better in the higher grades?

liberal4life
liberal4life

The State decided PARCC was too expensive, so they paid almost the same amount to McGraw Hill to develop Milestone. Neither one has done well this year. I guess we will have to wait another year whether or not GA's decision was a wise one.

bu22
bu22

@liberal4life It just makes no sense.  You can have a test where you share the costs with 20 other states or you do it on your own and expect to save money and have a decent test?

Starik
Starik

@xxxzzz @liberal4life If you do that, the scores of Georgia kids would be compared with kids from normal states.  That's always embarrassing.

Donna Burkett
Donna Burkett

My daughter has not received her scores back, but she did have testing issues with her mandated online calculator on her Geometry Milestone test. A report was made to the school and the school allegedly made a report to the state. I have heard nothing back from anyone. In my opinion, whatever her score is it should not be a valid score due to faulty equipment and non-standardized use of being able to use a personal calculator.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

Other counties need to follow Fulton's lead and request a waiver/hold harmless from the GABOE. The irregularities are numerous, all over the state, from technology issues, to what calculators were allowed, to students having their test answers lost in a crash who got to look up additional information and retest the next day. Nothing about this test is valid! EVERYBODY should be contacting the GABOE to demand that this be another HOLD HARMLESS year!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

And the GA DOE SHOULD be held harm-FUL.

Jennifer Schmidt
Jennifer Schmidt

Issues all over the state! We're coming for you GADOE! #no20percent #holdharmless

Adam Smith
Adam Smith

We had no issues..at least at my HS in Gwinnett. Tested Monday and had scores by Wednesday.

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

Wow. That is remarkable. All online? DeKalb can't get its scores in time for this weekend's graduation but that is apparently only the paper and pencil tests.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

Even if one school did not have any issues, which I question, the fact that different schools were using different rules regarding calculators and other issues like that should invalidate it for the entire state.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

Absolutely! That state permitted it, but some districts and even individual schools elected not to. The embedded calculators in the test were glitchy, unfamiliar to some students, and did not always have the proper functionality (graphing, for instance). Other students used the school's calculators, still others brought their own. Absolutely non standardized. Would you want to be one that had to rely on the inadequate embedded calculator, knowing that you were being measured against students that used their familiar, functional personal calculators? I wouldn't. It should invalidate them all.

Jennifer Schmidt
Jennifer Schmidt

Susan Blount Campbell my son was completely frustrated with the online calculator. He would have much rather used the one he was familiar with and had been using all year. When I let him know other counties were able to use their own, he was flabbergasted. That is simply NOT fair. Hence, just one other reason why this testing is bogus, unreliable and invalid and should absolutely NOT count 20% of the grade he has already worked so hard for. These kids are working their tails off to get into college and they keep getting thrown roadblocks! Enough is enough! Quit experimenting with our kids future!

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

DOE pledged districts would get their End of Grade scores May 12th. We are asking DOE to explain what happened that Cobb doesn't have them.

Myung Lewis Bergstrom
Myung Lewis Bergstrom

Susan Blount Campbell I find the issue of calculator use interesting. Back in the day, we weren't allowed to use them. When my eldest child was in elementary and middle school, they were forbidden but allowed in high school. Now, my youngest has been able to use them starting in 5th grade. If calculator policy isn't standard throughout the state, I think that makes the test results questionable.