Description: This passage mainly describes every student succeeds act, showing us the advantages of the every student succeeds act like the flexibility for some courses, new options for students who speak another language and so on.
I’m Melissa Fincher and I have the pleasure of chairing the assessment and working committee along with Dr. Steve Parker, the superintendent and Coweta County. Our committee was charged with reviewing the assessment requirements in the every student succeeds act or ESSA. Under ESSA, the assessment requirements were introduced in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 remain.
States are required to assess all public school students enrolled in grades three to eight in both reading arts and mathematics each year in high school. Public school students must be assessed in both reading arts and mathematics at least once. All students are also required to be assessed in science at least once while enrolled in elementary grades three through five, middle grades six through nine, and high school 10 through 12.
Those grade bands are different than those for reading and math. That’s because the law is different for the assessment of science. This table describes Georgia’s assessment requirements mandated by state law and the requirements included in federal law. That is ESSA.
In Georgia, we have formative assessments beginning in kindergarten with the Georgia kindergarten inventory of developing skills and a new state requirement for formative assessments in reading and math for grades 1 & 2. In Georgia, the Georgia milestones which end of grade assessments are administered to students in grades 3 through 8.
In high school, students take the Georgia milestones. The end-of-course measures four core courses identified by the State Board of Education. Students with significant cognitive disabilities participate in the Georgia alternate assessment in lieu of Georgia milestones. Both federal and state law require the annual assessment of students in grades three to high school.
In Georgia milestones or the GAA program fulfills this requirement for our state. Under Georgia’s previous waiver for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act known as ESEA, our state was granted flexibility for middle school students who took advanced high school mathematics courses.
These students were allowed to take the end-of-course measure associated with a high school course they learned. We’re no longer required to take the end of grade measure for the middle school grade in which they were enrolled.
This flexibility for advanced mathematics courses is also included in ESSA. Such flexibility is important, because it eliminates the testing burden for students and takes the advanced coursework in an effective student on content for which they have received instruction. As a part of Georgia is as a plan, our state is seeking to continue similar flexibility granted under our ESEA waiver for science.
In short, Georgia is requesting within its plan to allow those middle school students enrolled in high school science courses only with the end-of-course measure associated with the high school course but not the science in the grade measure associated with the middle school grade in which they are enrolled. Georgia is also seeking to expand this flexibility to include high school language arts coursework completed by middle school students.
If granted, middle school students enrolled in advanced high school language arts courses would take the end-of-course measure associated with that course, but not the end of grade measure for the middle school grade in which they are enrolled.
The next topic for assessment that is required to be addressed in state plan which is the assessment of students who do not speak English. In Georgia, State statute establishes English as our official language so state Board of Education rule requires that all assessments be administered in English. While a variety of languages are spoken by Georgia students, the majority of students who are English learners speak Spanish.
In fact 80% of students who are English learners speak Spanish. This makes Spanish the most prevalent language spoken by English learners in our state. In the assessed grades of 3 through high school, approximately 3.3 percent of English learners speak Spanish. It is not practical for Georgia to build a native language assessment. Great care is taken during the development of our state assessment.
Throughout the development process, teachers of English learners are involved to ensure that the assessment items are accessible and straightforward. The final assessment component required in state as a plan is each state’s plan to assess recently arrived English learners.
ESSA has introduced some new options for States regarding the assessment of students who speak another language. These new options are enrolling in a school within the United States for the first time. These options were discussed by the assessment working committee and other stakeholders including the Advisory Committee for title three services. Those services are provided to students who speak other languages and who are English learners.
These groups recommended that newly arrived students participate in all assessments the first year they enroll in US school. Results of this first year will not be used in any accountability calculations. They will be used to establish the baseline only in grade 2 student progress or growth will be used within the accountability system. In Georgia, that’s the college and career-ready Performance Index.
Achievement, proficiency or content mastery will not be included during this second year but only growth. Then in year 3 both progress and achievement will be included in the accountability system. This approach offers schools the most opportunity to serve students who are learning to speak English while mitigating punitive consequences for both schools and students. This approach will be carefully monitored.
In closing, it’s important to note that ESSA has introduced new opportunities for States in the arena of assessment. The assessment working committee expressed interest in pursuing two areas of assessment flexibility offered within ESSA. The first involves the possibility of local district collecting to utilize a nationally recognized college and career-ready test in lieu of the state’s high school assessment.
In Georgia, this would be one or more of the end-of-course measures. The comparability of the two assessment is the nationally recognized assessment such as the SAT or ACT and the state assessment must be established first. Additionally, such nationally recognized assessments must be approved through the federal peer. Secondly, ESSA opens up the opportunity for states and districts to work together to implement more new and innovative assessment solutions which can better measure student knowledge and skills.
This demonstration authority will allow up to seven States. The opportunity to scale a promising proven solution statewide will be over a period of five years. Importantly, the opportunity is available for statewide scaling of the solution, but unfortunately it is not the development of such a solution. The assessment working committee indicated an interest in Georgia pursuing this option.
Georgia will continue to develop newer technology enhanced items that you’ll get better information about student understanding and skill level. Having real potential to reduce testing time is a concern that was expressed frequently by many stakeholders during our listening sessions. These are the major aspects of Georgia’s ESSA plan concerning assessment. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.