Mak­ing changes

New­ton County School Sys­tem looks to change lo­cal test­ing.

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - MARIYA LEWTER mlewter@cov­

As we get ready to be­gin an­other school year, there is an air of ex­cite­ment. But quickly that ex­cite­ment can turn to anx­i­ety when it comes to test­ing.

New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS) is tak­ing steps to change the way test­ing is ad­min­is­tered in the schools.

On Tues­day night, Su­per­in­ten­dent Samantha Fuhrey made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to re­quest flex­i­bil­ity from the State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion with re­gard to the Ge­or­gia Mile­stones in grades 3-8.

“We do not want our stu­dents in grades 3-8 to par­tic­i­pate in the spring 2017 ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Ge­or­gia Mile­stones," she said. "In- stead, we have pro­posed the use of Iowa Assess­ments to pre-test in Au­gust and posttest in May.”

The re­quest to the State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion was mailed July 20, cit­ing the re­cent Se­nate Bill 364 as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the re­quest.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral Assem­bly, SB 364 is “a bill to be en­ti­tled an Act to amend Ar­ti­cle 6 of Chap­ter 2 of Ti­tle 20 of the Of­fi­cial Code of Ge­or­gia An­no­tated, re­lat­ing to the "Qual­ity Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Act," so as to re­vise pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to an­nual teacher, prin­ci­pal, and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal eval­u­a­tions; to re­vise pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to stu­dent as­sess­ment; to pro­vide for re­lated mat­ters; to re­peal con­flict­ing laws; and for other pur­poses.”

“It is my hope that our model will qual­ify,” said Fuhrey.

Ac­cord­ing to Fuhrey, this means that teachers will have "real-time, valid, re­li­able data" that they can rely on to make ed­u­ca­tional plans for each stu­dent.

"Hav­ing the in­for­ma­tion early in the year al­lows teachers to iden­tify strengths and weak­nesses and build plans through­out the in­struc­tional year to fill gaps and pro­vide en­rich­ment ed­u­ca­tion for those who ex­cel," she said. "As a post mea­sure, the re­sults will en­able teachers to know right away how much stu­dents have grown ed­u­ca­tion­ally over the course of the aca­demic year. Ad­di­tion­ally, in grades 6-8, data is gen­er­ated that will pro­vide early pre­dic­tions of per­for­mance on high-stakes assess­ments like the SAT and ACT thereby pro­vid­ing teachers, stu­dents, and par­ents am­ple time to in­ter­vene to strengthen stu­dents’ skills.”

At the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion work ses­sion on Aug. 9, Dr. Al­li­son Jor­dan, Di­rec­tor of Test­ing, Re­search, and Eval­u­a­tion for NCSS, and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the test de­vel­oper group from the Univer­sity of Iowa will be pre­sent­ing the lo­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion plan.

“We are very ex­cited about this pos­si­bil­ity as we be­lieve that our model will ul­ti­mately bet­ter serve our stu­dents,” said Fuhrey. “We want teachers and fam­i­lies to un­der­stand that we are at­tempt­ing to move to a dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent model — con­tin­gent on State DOE ap­proval. But the Iowa test­ing will be­gin in Au­gust — ir­re­spec­tive of the State’s ap­proval.”

The com­mu­nity is in­vited to the Aug. 9 meet­ing to lis­ten to the pro­posed plan.

Metro Creative Con­nec­tion

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