Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ decision to allow Georgia to take part in ‘creative, new ways’ to access student performance could have big impact on Floyd, Polk, Calhoun and Trion schools.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ decision to allow Georgia to take part in ‘creative, new ways’ to access student performance could have big impact on Floyd, Polk, Calhoun and Trion schools.

Betsy DeVos, secretary of education for the United States.

 

A decision by the U.S. Department of Education to allow Georgia and North Carolina to “to assess student achievement in new, creative ways” will have a major impact on Floyd County Schools as well as students in Polk County, Trion City and Calhoun city schools.

According to a media release, “The Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority  program is designed to encourage local involvement in the development of the next generation of assessments. As part of the program, states can pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale, avoid double-testing students on both pilot and statewide exams, and develop strategies for implementing such innovative assessments statewide over time.”

Floyd, Polk and Trion schools are part of a consortium known as the Georgia MAP Assessment Partnership; Calhoun is a member of the Putnam County Consortium, according to the AJC story.

Dr. Jeff Wilson, superintendent of Floyd County Schools, says of the decision: ” We hope to have a future state assessment, like MAP, that will give us information throughout the year and not just one end-of-the-year-counts-for-everything test.”

Floyd County School Board member Chip Hood, in a Facebook post, credited some face time with the education secretary in March by a Rome Floyd Chamber and school system delegation as perhaps helping with DeVos’ decision. Writes Hood: ” We discussed the issue of testing and expressed our feelings that MAP testing was what we felt was best for our students. We had a great team that went to D.C. and it was a pleasure to meet and discuss the issues in person with Secretary DeVos.”

The media release on the secretary’s decision is below:

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved two additional states to assess student achievement in new, creative ways. Georgia and North Carolina will take part in the innovative assessments pilot program, part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, during the 2019-2020 school year.

“I’m pleased that Georgia and North Carolina are rethinking how to assess student achievement in ways that are more relevant and connected to the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “This pilot program gives states that are willing to try a new approach an opportunity to assess student achievement without sacrificing rigor or skirting accountability. I look forward to seeing the impact this study will have on student outcomes.”

The Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority  program is designed to encourage local involvement in the development of the next generation of assessments. As part of the program, states can pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale, avoid double-testing students on both pilot and statewide exams, and develop strategies for implementing such innovative assessments statewide over time.

Georgia will pilot two different innovative assessments: one based on the use of adaptive interim assessments, and the other based on the use of on-demand assessments designed to provide real-time data on student performance. Both assessments utilize technology to provide educators with valuable data that can be used to target support during the school year.

North Carolina’s new innovative assessment will rely on the use of a customized, end-of-year assessment (called a “route”) for each student, developed in response to a student’s performance on two formative assessments taken during the school year. Each route represents a cluster of test questions designed to measure a student’s achievement accurately and efficiently.

To participate in the pilot, states must apply and demonstrate how their innovative assessments are developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, aligned to challenging state academic standards and accessible to all students through use of principles of universal design for learning, among other requirements.

Georgia and North Carolina join two other pilot states, Louisiana and New Hampshire, which were granted flexibility as part of the IADA in 2018.

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