As teachers and policymakers know, educational standards and statewide assessments go hand in hand. In Georgia, you certainly won't find statewide public K-12 school assessments that aren't based on specific, rigorous standards, and a prime case in point is the Milestones Assessments.
These assessments were adopted by the Georgia Department of Education as a replacement for the previously used Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs) for elementary and middle school students, and End of Course Tests (EOCTs) for high school students.
Since that school year has now come and gone, we can look back and reflect on what we know about the exams. As we'll see in the following five facts, this is unlike any other group of assessments we've ever seen in the state of Georgia.
1. More question types.
The days of multiple-choice dominance are in the rearview mirror for statewide standardized testing in Georgia. Yes, the Georgia Milestones do include multiple-choice test items, but now there's a focus on questions that check for deeper understanding. In particular, open-ended (a.k.a. constructed-response) questions and a writing component add complexity to an already rigorous battery of assessments.
2. Computer-based item types.
Part of the new Milestone teting method involves computer-based, or technology enhanced, items. What these are is simply a way to demonstrate knowledge that is not multiple choice. Students will now answer questions using drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blank, and can also draw graps using the computer.
Check out LearnBop’s brand new Technology Enhanced Items (TEI) to see what new computer-based item types will look like. Teachers can use these new items right now for free!
3. Assessment results may be viewed differently.
Previous assessments, such as the CRCTs and EOCTs, provided test results grouped into three performance levels. With the Georgia Milestones, this amount has been increased to four.
Furthermore, assessment results will now be norm-referenced in all content areas on the Georgia Milestones, in addition to the criterion referencing already in place, which will allow for national comparison among test takers.
4. Technologically enhanced testing modalities.
Computer-based assessments are becoming the norm in Georgia with the advent of the Milestones assessments, as the Georgia Department of Education is committed to a "transition to online administration over time. The Department further asserts that online testing will be "considered the primary mode of administration" with "paper-pencil as back-up until the transition is complete."
This aligns fully with test developer CTB/McGraw-Hill's push to bring Georgia and the nation as a whole into "the age of computer-assisted education."
5. A plethora of resources—and transparency in testing—for students, parents, and educators.
For anyone with Internet access, there's nothing covert about the inner workings of the Georgia Milestones. Want to see a demonstration of the online test, blueprints of test item types and reporting categories, or specifics on allowable testing accommodations for English language learners and students with disabilities?
We hope this list was informative, and that you learned something you didn't know before. We'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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About the Author
David Moadel is in his third decade working in education. He has taught, mentored, and inspired students from elementary age through adult. David has earned his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the American College of Education, and is currently a certified teacher in Florida. David enjoys teaching, writing, and utilizing technology tools to communicate with people with diverse viewpoints across the globe.