Georgia Department of Education

Georgia Department of Education

The State Board of Education is taking public comments in advance of a vote on lowering the course grade weight of the year-end Georgia Milestones tests.

Officials are concerned the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting preparations.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods recommended on Oct. 1 that the tests — which count for 20% of a student’s grade — be lowered to 0.01% for the current school year. However, in a split vote, the board proposed a 10% course weight.

The decision won’t be finalized until its November meeting.

Meanwhile, the board has set up an online survey that runs through Nov. 16. It asks participants if they prefer Woods’ proposal, 10% or keeping it at 20%.

Additional comments may be submitted by email to policy@doe.k12.ga.us; by regular mail to Rules Comments, Policy Division, Georgia Department of Education, 2053 Twin Towers East, 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE Atlanta, GA 30334; or by contacting the AskDOE Help Desk at 1-800-311-3627.

Woods sought a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to eliminate the tests this school year. But Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the need still exists to maintain performance standards and data-tracking for student achievement.

Several state school board members made the same argument — saying the pass on end-of-year testing could be a signal to slack off.

Others agreed with Woods’ contention that it adds extra pressure to students and teachers already struggling with unprecedented learning environments and could affect some students’ chances for scholarships.

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