There’s a New Milestone in GA Testing! It’s Called… Georgia Milestones!

The Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) just released the results of a new assessment called Georgia Milestones (”Milestones”). Given in spring of 2015, Georgia Milestones replaces the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) that students had been taking for more than a decade. The new Milestones test is considerably more rigorous, as the old CRCT “set some of the lowest expectations for student proficiency in the nation,” according to State Superintendent Richard Woods. Feel free to learn about the state’s new student assessment here. Like the CRCT, Milestones assesses content mastery across a number of subjects, including the key benchmarks of 3rd grade reading (English Language Arts) and 8th grade math.

So, naturally, we wanted to dissect the results as quickly as possible for the region’s school districts. And, naturally, with a new assessment comes new scoring categories. Instead of the old “meets”, “exceeds” or “does not meet” standards, the new Milestones has four levels of performance: Beginning Learner (which is considered “failing”),Developing Learner, Proficient Learner and Distinguished Learner. For this post, we will focus on only Proficient Learners and above, or the “Mean Scale Score,” which we will discuss later.

Results of Milestones by District

3rd Grade English Language Arts (ELA)

This chart illustrates the percentage of  “proficient learners & above” for English Language Arts for each school district in the Atlanta region. We can see that Decatur City and Forsyth County school districts have the highest percentage of “proficient & above” learners for 3rd grade ELA.

GA Milestones: 3rd Grade ELA: % Proficient Learners & Above

Chart - GA Milestones: 3rd Grade ELA%: % Proficient Learners and Above

Source: Georgia Department of Education

8th Grade Mathematics (Math)

This chart shows the percentage of “proficient learners & above”  for 8th grade math for local school districts.

GA Milestones: 8th Grade Math: % Proficient Learners & Above

Chart - GA Milestones: 8th Grade Math: % Proficient Learners & Above

Source: Georgia Department of Education

For the most part, school districts that performed well in 3rd grade ELA also performed well in 8th grade Math, although there is considerable movement among the top performers when comparing grades.

Milestones by School

While we were at it, we updated the Neighborhood Nexus mapping tool with 3rd and 8th grade results to show school-level differences. With this tool, we can see the spatial distribution of the Milestones Mean Scale Scores of each school in metro Atlanta. “Mean Scale Scores” are complicated, but they work very similar to SAT scores, which are scaled from 200 to 800 on each subject matter. Milestones works the same way, but the scale range changes for each subject and each grade. The gist is that the higher the score, the better.To learn about the Mean Scale Scores, click here.

3rd Grade English Language Arts

The map below illustrates the Mean Scale Scores in 3rd grade English Language Arts for each elementary school in metro Atlanta. The blue represents the highest scores while brown represents the lowest. The lowest scores are concentrated south of I-20 and east of the perimeter, while high scores are concentrated in the north.

3rd Grade ELA: Mean Scale Score by Elementary School

Map - 3rd Grade ELA: Mean Scale Score by Elementary School

Source: Georgia Department of Education via Neighborhood Nexus

8th Grade Mathematics

8th Grade Mathematics Mean Scale scores by school tell a similar story. The lower scores are concentrated south of I-20 and east of the perimeter while the higher scores are also found in the northern part of the region.

8th Grade Math: Mean Scale Score by Middle School

Source: Georgia Department of Education via Neighborhood Nexus

Although the new assessment is considerably different than the old one, the spatial pattern remains essentially the same, meaning that the socioeconomics of place remain a key driver in student outcomes.

To find out more about Georgia Milestones, check out Georgia Department of Education website, and to see the results spatially visit Neighborhood Nexus.

By | 2016-12-08T15:25:28+00:00 December 14th, 2015|Education, Special Features|0 Comments