With over 100,000 students, DeKalb County School District is the third largest district in the State of Georgia. Within in the last few years, DeKalb County Schools have encountered some obstacles such as a recent probation which was lifted in 2014  and a cheating scandal that indicted three school administrators.

Dekalb County school Superintendent Michael Thurmond, center right, and chairman Melvin Johnson, center left, applaud along with board member James McMahan, left, and Stone Mountain High School student DeMarco Poole, right, after Southern Association of Colleges and Schools CEO Mark Elgart, foreground, announced the school district has been removed from probation, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Stone Mountain, Ga. Georgia's third-largest school district has been moved off probation for its accreditation, after a tumultuous few years that included the rare step of the governor removing a majority of the local school board. Officials with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools made the announcement Tuesday during a packed school board meeting in DeKalb County. The metro Atlanta school district serves nearly 100,000 students. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Dekalb County school Superintendent Michael Thurmond, center right, and chairman Melvin Johnson, center left, applaud along with board member James McMahan, left, and Stone Mountain High School student DeMarco Poole, right, after Southern Association of Colleges and Schools CEO Mark Elgart, foreground, announced the school district has been removed from probation, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Stone Mountain, Ga. Georgia’s third-largest school district has been moved off probation for its accreditation, after a tumultuous few years that included the rare step of the governor removing a majority of the local school board. Officials with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools made the announcement Tuesday during a packed school board meeting in DeKalb County. The metro Atlanta school district serves nearly 100,000 students. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced the Dekalb County school district has been moved off probation, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Stone Mountain, Ga. Georgia's third-largest school district has been moved off probation for its accreditation, after a tumultuous few years that included the rare step of the governor removing a majority of the local school board. Officials with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools made the announcement Tuesday during a packed school board meeting in DeKalb County. The metro Atlanta school district serves nearly 100,000 students. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced the Dekalb County school district has been moved off probation, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Stone Mountain, Ga. Georgia’s third-largest school district has been moved off probation for its accreditation, after a tumultuous few years that included the rare step of the governor removing a majority of the local school board. Officials with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools made the announcement Tuesday during a packed school board meeting in DeKalb County. The metro Atlanta school district serves nearly 100,000 students. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The county is now  faced with a new statewide test called Georgia Milestones. The 2014-2015 school year was the first  year the test was administered and results were not promising. In regards to the English and Language Arts results, the  graph below shows the four achievement levels that could be obtained by each student.  As seen in the graph, more than half of students in each grade level were not completely proficient in the subject.

 

These results are an opposite reflection of GA Milestones’ predecessor the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests  (CRCT) as can be seen in the graph below.

 

A change in results was expected because the two tests are completely different in format. For example, the CRCT was completely multiple choice and administered via paper and pencil while GA Milestones incorporates  open-ended questions (creating an answer instead of just seeing one), a writing component, and is administered on paper and online. These differences make it so that the two test shouldn’t be compared, but the drastic difference in results do not inspire good feelings about the student’s knowledge. It actually brings up speculation of the effectiveness of the curriculum and teaching standards.Wanda Riley, English and Language Arts Department Chair at Lithonia Middle School, states, “the curriculum itself does not prepare students for standardized tests within itself.  Teachers still must do a lot of scaffolding, re-teaching basic skills, and modeling how to get started on certain assignments to get students prepared.”  In regards to the

Wanda Riley, English and Language Arts Department Chair at Lithonia Middle School, states, “the curriculum itself does not prepare students for standardized tests within itself.  Teachers still must do a lot of scaffolding, re-teaching basic skills, and modeling how to get started on certain assignments to get students prepared.”  In regards to the English and Langauge Arts (ELA) Curriculum, she states, “In my opinion, DeKalb’s ELA Curriculum is effective for students who function at or above grade level.  Since the transition to Common Core a few years ago, teachers and students are expected to teach and learn at a “rigorous” pace.  We have a significant number or students who are non-readers or “at-risk” for failure so they struggle to complete lessons on a daily basis.”

Looking at the 7th-grade results, in the graphs above, the CRCT results, show only 14% of  7th graders were below grade level, but according to GA Milestones a staggering 41.2 % of 7th graders are below grade level. Why is there such a  significant difference when the curriculum is the same?

 

Georgia state school superintendent Brad Bryant, left, and state school board members listen to Gov. Sonny Perdue address them about his office's findings regarding state standardized test score data, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 in Atlanta . (AP Photo/John Amis)
Georgia state school superintendent Brad Bryant, left, and state school board members listen to Gov. Sonny Perdue address them about his office’s findings regarding state standardized test score data, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 in Atlanta . (AP Photo/John Amis)
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, right, listens to Kathleen Mathers, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, point out suspicious data regarding state standardized test scores to the state school board Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 in Atlanta . (AP Photo/John Amis)
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, right, listens to Kathleen Mathers, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, point out suspicious data regarding state standardized test scores to the state school board Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 in Atlanta . (AP Photo/John Amis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latonya Plas, Academic Coach at Chapel Hill Middle School, stresses that there is nothing wrong with the curriculum, but the concern is if “it is being driven the right way and that’s all in terms of instruction.” She makes note that instructors should be using data to understand why students are failing and/or participating in professional development to better their class.  In regards to last years GA Milestones test, she states that “last year was like practice for Milestones. This year is where it really counts…when you bring about a new test, you have to, at least, give it two years.”  As we near the end of the 2015-2016  school year hopefully the results will be better than those of last year’s and will  show that the majority of DeKalb County’s students can perform at or above grade level.

3 thoughts on “DeKalb County Schools: Georgia Milestones Standardized Test Shows that Students are Performing Below Grade Level”

  1. Poverty ,non employment ,lack standard of living causes the children not to show the interest in learning basic education . Teaching basic education inculcate a person to be a learner.Boosting a student in continue teaching basic education leaves the student in the grove of learning .Learning is continue process in the present world . If a student comes up by gaining knowledge by reading, he/she brings their youngsters in the line of basic education .Thus the country’s illiteracy eradicate in due course..

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