Here is a video that you can show your students, so that they may get a glimpse into the world of the software that they will be using for the Georgia Milestones Assessment.
The Georgia Department of Education has just released End of Grade (EOG) study guides for the 2014-2015 Georgia Milestones Assessment. The Georgia Milestones is the assessment that replaced CRCT’s for Georgia’s public school students. The EOG assessments are just around the corner. So, as you keep warm through the winter months, with the expectation of Spring, rest assured that assessments are around the corner as well. Additionally, if you want to get more information about the breakdown of the tests, content weights, you can get more information from the post that I wrote about the other resources that students can utilize as they prepare for the Georgia Milestones.
According to the Georgia Department of Euducation:
These Assessment Guides are provided to acquaint Georgia educators and other stakeholders with the structure and content assessed on the End of Grade (EOG) measures. These guides are not intended to substitute for the state-adopted content standards. The guides are a supplemental resource and are provided to complement, not replace, other instructional resources developed by the local school district or the example resources provided by the Curriculum and Instruction Division of the Georgia Department of Education. In principle, the EOG Assessment Guides are intended to be descriptive of the assessment program and should not be considered all-inclusive.
Georgia has abandoned the framework of the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT’s). One of the reasons for the apparent shift is to move away from strictly multiple choice based tests. Here are a few sites to prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessment for end of year and end of course tests.
There are a few things to take into consideration as you prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessment:
1- Test Blueprints
Use the current test blueprints as a way to prepare your students for what they will face—especially since this is the fist time they will be taking such a high stakes test at this level.
1a- Georgia Milestones Practice Tests-Assessment Guides (2014-2015)
High School Assessment Guides
Ninth Grade Literature and Composition EOC Assessment Guide
American Literature and Composition EOC Assessment Guide
Coordinate Algebra EOC Assessment Guide
Analytic Geometry EOC Assessment Guide
Physical Science EOC Assessment Guide
Biology EOC Assessment Guide
US History EOC Assessment Guide
Economics EOC Assessment Guide
2- Use CRCT Study Guides
The tests will be different, however, the content will not change, as of yet. Therefore, I would suggest that you use materials already out there. Use the CRCT study guides below:
3- Use What Other States Are Using
- Arizona Practice Tests(3-12)
- Conneticut: K-12
- District of Columbia (DC): 3-12
- Florida: Training Tests(3-12): Electronic | Paper-pencil
Kentucky Department of Education (k-12): K-8 || High School Materials
- Louisiana : K-12
- Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System 2016, (2013-2018)
- Mississippi: 3-8
- New York: 3-8
- North Carolina: 3-8 || 9-12
- Ohio Released Tests(3-12)
- Washington: K-12
- Wisconsin: 3-10
4. Use What Major Assessment Publishers Offer
What information are the major testing companies/publishers providing?
Pearson: PARCC (k-12): There are sample questions for grades 3-12. Just select the content, ELA/math, then your grade level and you are on your way.
CTB/McGraw Hill (k-12): This is a great resource to practice to practice for the Georgia Milestones. This is the same company that will be administering the Georgia Milestones at the end of the year (2015). This page no longer works. Find out why by reading my post here.
Smarter Balanced Consortium (k-12): This is a great resource. This is not really a publisher per se, but a consortium of states and territories that are working together to create assessments that they all share. The site is free to use, no log in required–great practice for students. This is very similar to the Florida Training Tests and the PARCC.
Did I miss an awesome resource that you think should be added? This post may be updated to include additional resources to prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessment for classroom teachers and for parents who are homeschooling.
The Georgia Department of Education has published the content weights for the 2014-2014 end of year tests for Georgia’s new Milestones Assessment that have replaced the CRCT’s. These tests have been promised to be much more challenging than previous tests. You may also retrieve the PDf version for the table below as well from the state by clicking here.
|Subjects||Domains||3rd Grade||4th Grade||5th Grade||6th Grade||7th Grade||8th Grade|
|Georgia Milestones Content Weights 2014-215. GADOE|
|ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS|
|Reading and Vocabulary||53%||53%||53%||53%||53%||53%|
|Writing and Language||47%||47%||47%||47%||47%||47%|
|Operations and Algebraic Thinking||25%||20%||10%|
|Number and Operations||35%|
|Number and Operations in Base 10||20%||25%|
|Number and Operations – Fractions||30%||30%|
|Measurement and Data||30%||20%||20%|
|The Number System||30%||21%|
|Ratios and Proportional Relationships||12%||19%|
|Statistics and Probability||17%||20%||12%|
|Numbers, Expressions & Equations||20%|
|Expressions and Equations||23%||17%|
|Algebra & Functions||40%|
|Hydrology and Meteorology||40%|
|Cells and Genetics||35%|
|Interdependence of Life||50%|
|Structure of Matter||30%|
|Force and Motion||30%|
|Energy and Its Transformation||40%|
Study Island is a comprehension, online learning tool that allows students to master the Common Core Curriculum and more, through supplemental practice and assessment measures. Study Island is available for math, science, social studies, reading and language arts. Study Island allows teachers to assign activities and quizzes to students. Students will earn ribbons, which acts as an additional motivator for students.
Wide Range of Subjects
Study Island Provides a wide range of subjects for some grade-levels. For example, online learning for math, reading, science and social studies are available for third, fourth and fifth grade students in Georgia to help them get ready for the Georgia Milestones Assessments; formerly the CRCT’s.
Teachers and administrators are able to keep track of the skills that have been attempted or covered by students. This allows accurate decisions to be made regarding student performance.
Teachers can quickly assign practice and quizzes to individual students, classes or groups to drive instruction. This makes it a great tool for blended learning in the classroom and at home.
Teachers are able to provide pre-assessments to determine how students are starting out on a unit. This makes it very useful for teachers to determine how students are currently performing. This is especially useful for teachers who need data to determine how to group students in the classroom.
By default students have access to all of the programs subscribed to by your school. Therefore, teachers can go in and fine-tune the activities that students have at their disposal. This makes it a great way to offer differentiation inside the classroom. For English Language Learners (ELL’s), the text-to-speech feature allows students to select text and press play to have the text read aloud through the computer's speakers or headphones; this is great way to provide additional support to those students who may be reading or performing below grade-level.
Compare to Other Classrooms and State:
Study Island provides insights into the way other groups of students may be using the software. This insight allows you, the teacher, to see how your class may compare with other populations inside and outside of the school.
Teachers may also access lesson plans for specific skills if necessary. This may reduce the amount of time a teacher spends preparing lessons targeted at a specific skill or objective.
Teachers may be able to download worksheets to use for whatever reason.
Teachers can adjust the percentage correct required to achieve the blue ribbon in the classroom. This makes it a great tool that can be used as a way to motivate an entire class, grade or school. Students will need to keep practicing and earning more and more ribbons. For advanced students, the percentage required to earn a ribbon can be increased making it a good tool to use to motivate students to do their best.
Many of the questions that are generated on Study Island are not different than a regular downloadable worksheet. However, the main difference is that it is on a screen.
Many of the students find the activities to be a little boring. Therefore, Study Island is not really the kind of program that the average student is eager to jump on and get going. However, I have found that making a big deal out of earning badges and providing additional rewards may alleviate some of the boredom for some students. Maybe, rather than having a dedicated game mode, Study Island should have embedded, into activities, a smart educational game to act as a reward for earning a ribbon. This will provide an added incentive for students to keep working and earning ribbons.
Hard to Navigate:
Taking into consideration the amount of time that Study Island has been around, I am disappointed that the program is still so hard to navigate. I think that some minimal changes to the administrative end of the software will go a long way in improving.
Lack of Better Display of Mastery Tracking:
Many of my students ask me which skills they have mastered. It would be really beneficial for the students, parents, teachers and administrators to have a display of the standards and a way for them to see the standards mastered by the students, classes and the entire school.
One of the major problems that I have with Study Island is that the program does not generate new questions based on the skills or standards being covered. As a result of this, some of the students will go through activities and determine the correct answer to a problem and then go through the same activity again knowing what the correct responses are for each problem. This gives an inaccurate score.
Better Adaptive Learning Mechanisms:
With the widespread use of adaptive technologies, and when you think of the fact that Edmentum is now the Publisher behind Study Island, I think that it is disappointing that they have not improved Study Island to include better adaptive technologies that would improve upon the way in which questions are presented to students. Remember, a student may be in the 5th grade, but they may be working on a third grade level. Therefore, if a parent went and purchased this software it may not be very beneficial because the content presented will be above their current performance. On the other hand, if the software had better adaptive measures, the software would better be able to determine the current grade level performance of each student. This would end up being way more useful for all users.
Lack of More Cross-Curricular Reading Comprehension Activities
Taking into consideration that Study Island has a wide range of content areas under focus, I think that it would have been very beneficial for some of the reading comprehension passages to include more content that involves science and social studies content. This would have been very beneficial for students as they prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessments.
From the Publisher- Edmentum:
Founded in 2000, Study Island, an Edmentum product, helps students in kindergarten through 12th grade master state-specific, grade-level academic standards in a fun and engaging manner. We provide standards-based instructional, practice, assessment, and productivity tools that improve the performance of educators and students via our web-based platforms.
Study Island combines rigorous content that is highly customized to specific state standards in math, reading, writing, science, and social studies with interactive features and games that engage students and reinforce and reward learning achievement. Study Island’s programs enable educators to track student performance in real-time to address individual learning gaps, while allowing administrators to monitor student progress and measure teacher effectiveness.
The Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT’s) have been officially culled from the state of Georgia, and a new era has begun. The new tests that the students will be taking in the state of Georgia will now all fall under one umbrella. They will all be called, Georgia Milestones Assessment System or Georgia Milestones for short. Below I will outline information about the new tests that I have aggregated and synthesized to make it more accessible.
What are the Georgia Milestones Assessments?
The Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS), also known as the Georgia Milestones, will replace the CRCT’s, End of Course Tests (EOCT’s) and the Writing Assessment (WA). The Georgia Milestones will be aligned to the Georgia Common Core Standards; therefore, what the students are expected to know will not change from the 2013-2014 standards. According to the Georgia DOE, “..reading, language arts, and writing will be combined in a single measure to align to the standards.”
What differentiates the Georgia Milestones Assessment from the CRCT’s?
Well, the CRCT’s were a series of multiple choice questions. And the students did not have to do much thinking to “come up with an answer.” However, with the Georgia Milestones students will be presented with three question types, and some of the questions will require students to formulate their own responses –structured responses. The Georgia Milestones Assessments report card will also provide more information- the reporting will include norm-referenced performance indication. That means that students, parents and teachers will know how students rank when compared to other students nationally. Therefore, there may be questions presented to students that are not aligned to the Georgia Standards, but will most likely be at their expected developmental levels. However, only the questions aligned to the Georgia Common Core Standards will contribute to proficiency designations.
The Georgia Department of Education states, regarding norm-referenced questions :
“Some norm-referenced items may not align to Georgia’s content standards. Only aligned NRT items will contribute to proficiency designations.”
What grade levels will be taking the Georgia Milestones End of Course Tests?
The Georgia Milestones assessments will be given to students in Grades 3-12. Students in grades 3-8 will be administered the End of Grade (EOG) in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, while high school students will be administered the End of Course (EOC) tests which include 9th Grade Literature & Composition, American Literature & Composition, Coordinate Algebra, Analytic Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, US History, and Economics.
What will the content tests be like?
English Language Arts
Students will be required to use “close analytic reading to construct meaning, make inferences, draw conclusions, compare and contrast ideas, themes, etc., as well as synthesize ideas and concepts across multiple texts will require students to develop informative/explanatory responses or narratives, produce opinions/arguments – citing evidence from text(s) and using standard language conventions, etc.”
Students will be required to demonstrate conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, problem solving, modeling, and mathematical reasoning.
Students will be required to use “understanding of the core concepts, ideas, and practices of science to explain scientific phenomena – with content and Characteristics of Science/Nature of Science standards serving as co-requisites.
Will require understanding of the past and its influence on the present and future – including the interconnectedness of history, culture, geography, economics, and governments/civics.
What will the questions be like?
There are three main types of reponses that will be available to students:
These question types are what we refer to as multiple choice questions. All content areas will have multiple choice questions, while in language arts students will provide evidence-based selected response.
Students will be required to generate their own answers based on the individual questions, showing their work, in the content areas of math and ELA .
Will require students to supply detailed and elaborate responses to justify their reasoning. They allow for multiple correct answers and/or varying methods of arriving at the correct answer. Writing prompts or performance tasks are examples of extended-response items. Content areas of Math and ELA will involve such question types.
Will practice questions be available?
Yes. The Georgia DOE will provide a practice environment for students; however, this online environment is not available as yet.
When will the tests be administered?
The testing window for the 2014-2015 school year will be unchanged.
Who will be making the tests?
The tests will remain in the trusted hands of McGraw-Hill, under the umbrella of CTB. The Georgia Department of Education awarded CTB/McGraw Hill $107.8 million to administer the tests over a 5 year period beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.
Do you know how McGraw-Hill won the bid?
The Following information was posted by the state:
“The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) seeks a highly-qualified offerer to provide services and products for a new customized, comprehensive, and cohesive (i.e., articulated) Georgia Student Assessment Program, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. A paramount objective of this new program will be to signal students’ preparedness for the next educational level (grade or course), ultimately culminating in a clear indication of students preparedness for post-graduation endeavors, be it college or career. Additionally, the program must provide high-quality measurement of student achievement of the state-mandated content standards, provide teachers with actionable information to directly inform remediation and enrichment efforts, and assist school systems in identifying strengths and shortcomings of educational programs in order to inform priorities and planning.”
What will this mean for students who are accustomed to taking multiple choice questions?
I think that most teachers were already teaching this way, requiring students to give their own responses and explanations. However, this time they will be required by the State to show their thinking and their work. Therefore, it will require more effort on the part of the students to demonstrate proficiency. According to the Georgia Department of Education head, Dr. Barge, when addressing possible grade implications:
“The increased expectations for student learning reflected in Georgia Milestones may mean initially lower scores than the previous years’ CRCT or EOCT scores. That is to be expected and should bring Georgia’s tests in line with other indicators of how our students are performing.”
What is CTB/McGraw Hill Saying about this?
As a part of the contractual agreement between Georgia and CTB, they have promised to allow 30% of the students to be able to take the tests online by year one (2014-2015 school year), and by the 5th year mark (2019) the tests will be administered entirely online.
How will Georgia Milestones play with “pay for performance”?
The state is hoping for the standards to “support and inform educator effectiveness initiatives”
Unanswered Questions about the Georgia Milestone assessments:
1: The Georgia Department of Education states that the Georgia Milestone Assessments will “allow for detection of the progress made by each student over the course of the academic year.”
My concern is that the Milestones will only be administered once-at the end of the school year. How will growth be adequately measured if the assessments are only given at the end of the school year. Research clearly shows that, on average, students regress during the long summer break.
2. How will the Georgia Milestones be used to determine educator effectiveness?
3. What will the turn-around time be for taking and scoring the tests?