Cherokee County School District students exceeded State averages on the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests for the sixth consecutive year, with expected decreases locally and statewide due to the pandemic’s impact on instruction.
The annual tests, which were not administered in 2020 due to the pandemic, assess students’ mastery of Georgia Performance Standards, which set expectations for what lessons students will learn in each grade. Results are used by teachers and administrators to improve instruction for specific students as well as develop new overall instructional best practices.
Students in Grades 3-8 take Milestones End-of-Grade exams every spring in select core subjects; high school students in specific courses (and eighth-graders taking the classes for high school credit) take Milestones End-of-Course exams. Parents will receive access to their children’s scores through Canvas today.
“These scores do not define us nor how hard our students, teachers and support staff worked last year to ensure students received the best education possible during the pandemic,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “These scores do support our expectation that we would need to focus this school year on bridging learning opportunity losses due to the pandemic through investing further in instruction. I’m deeply grateful for our School Board’s support in hiring 125 teachers for this school year, above and beyond anticipated enrollment growth, to address this need, so we could take steps like lowering class sizes, adding more remediation services and making other changes focused on learning growth.”
Differing groups of students affect year-to-year change within a grade level, and the pandemic’s impact on learning is evident in lower scores than typically achieved in CCSD and statewide. Results measure students’ knowledge as Beginning, Developing, Proficient or Distinguished Learners; the results include English Language Learners and students who receive Special Education services.
“Georgia Milestones was designed to measure instruction during a typical school year, and 2020-2021 was anything but,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Given the impacts of the pandemic on all students, we expected some decreases this year. Georgia educators and students have worked extremely hard and these results do not reflect or diminish their efforts. With educators already working to get students back on track and the vast majority of school districts offering five days a week of in-person instruction this year, I’m confident students will receive the support they need to make up any lost ground.”
For third-grade, the percentage of CCSD students achieving the highest two levels of scores -- Proficient to Distinguished -- was 54.4% for Math (as compared to 38.4% for Georgia) and 45.9% for English Language Arts (36.1% Georgia).
For fifth-grade, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Proficient to Distinguished scores was: 51.5% for Math (34.7% Georgia), 47.1% for English Language Arts (39.4% Georgia) and 45.9% for Science (38.5% Georgia).
For eighth-grade, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Proficient to Distinguished scores was: 50% for English Language Arts (41.4% Georgia), 42.6% for Math (31.8% Georgia), 42.7% for Science (34.6% Georgia) and 43.3% for Social Studies (34.7% Georgia).
For high school credit courses, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Proficient to Distinguished scores was: 41.1% for American Literature and Composition (29.8% for Georgia), 38% for Algebra I (30.2% Georgia), 54.6% for Biology (40.7% Georgia), 43.7% for U.S. History (29.6% Georgia).