ATLANTA — More Georgia students are on what the state considers “college- and career-ready” and many are progressing out of the state’s lowest categories for standardized testing, Georgia Milestones results released on Friday show.
It also showed that students of all levels continue to lag behind that level in disciplines like math and science.
The state Department of Education said that, compared to 2018, more students scored at the “proficient learning” level – considered the standard for a college or career track – in nearly every assessment Georgia administers – 25 of 26.
According to the state, 2019’s advances were “the strongest overall gains recorded in the five years the assessment has been administered.”
In a release, State School Superintendent Richard Woods praised the results as a “testament to the hard work of Georgia’s teachers and students, and an increasing focus on educating the whole child and providing a genuinely well-rounded education.”
Students scoring in the “beginning learner” bracket, the state’s lowest, also decreased in most assessments, including by 5 percent in sixth grade English Language Arts, 5 percent in 9th grade Literature & Composition, 4 percent in third grade English Language Arts, and 4 percent in high school Analytic Geometry.
According to state data, students fared best on reading exams, with 60 percent of every grade scoring grade level or above. Only fourth graders (64 percent) and sixth graders (61 percent) were below 70 percent, while ninth graders fared best in the state, with 83 percent reading at grade level or above.
Ninth graders also fared best in English Language arts, with a state-best 61 percent of students at the “proficient learner” or “distinguished learner” levels.
Data showed that many students are still catching up to meet college-track standards, however.
More than half of students in grades 3-8, as well as high schoolers taking the American Literature & Composition exam, scored at “developing learner” or “beginning learner” levels. A quarter or more of third, fourth, sixth and seventh graders were at “beginning learner” levels, the lowest the state designates.
In mathematics, in only third and fourth grade were 50 percent or more of students at the “proficient learner” and “distinguished learner” levels, the best marks in the state.
Fewer than 40 percent scored at that level in fifth and eighth grade, and on the high school Coordinate Algebra and Analytic Geometry tests.
And in science and social studies, which are administered to fifth and eighth graders and high schoolers, no cohort had 50 percent or more of students at the “proficient” level.
Atlanta-area counties touted their results.
Atlanta Public Schools said it saw its highest-ever rates of proficiency on the exams, saying it saw year-on-year gains in 21 of 24 assessments. And the district said 80 percent of its schools saw increases in the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or better.
“I’m proud of our students, families, teachers and staff for the progress we’ve seen not only this year but also over the past five years,” APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said. “We can see the foundational work started in 2014 beginning to take effect across the District.”
Fulton County said its students were “as well or better than the state average” in both English and math.
“In all, our district’s results continue to be above the state average in almost every category and shows the dedication of our educators and students,” the Fulton County Board of Education chair, Linda Bryant, said.
DeKalb County said it saw “noteworthy progress” in its scores, including increased averages for third-to-eighth graders across the board. Clayton County said its high schoolers saw increases in “proficient” learners in five of eight assessments, including a six-point jump on the 9th Grade Literature exam and a four-point increase for U.S. History.
The Georgia Milestones Assessment System is the state’s end-of-year tests that measure how students in grades 3-12 are meeting state standards in four main disciplines: English, math, science and social studies.
From third to eighth grade, students take English Language Arts and math tests at the end of every year, with additional science and social studies tests at the end of fifth grade and eighth grade.
High schoolers take an end-of-course test for each of 10 courses designated by the state Board of Education, spanning the four main disciplines.
2019 State Results
DOWNLOAD 2019 School & District Results
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