Education

Here’s how Bibb and Houston students did on the Georgia Milestones tests

Vineville Academy counselor Carra Floyd talks with fourth-graders about testing strategies as they prepare for Georgia Milestone tests in this 2016 file photo. Bibb County schools improved its passing rate on half of the state’s standardized tests this year compared to last year but continued to lag behind the state average.
Vineville Academy counselor Carra Floyd talks with fourth-graders about testing strategies as they prepare for Georgia Milestone tests in this 2016 file photo. Bibb County schools improved its passing rate on half of the state’s standardized tests this year compared to last year but continued to lag behind the state average. Telegraph file photo

Bibb County schools improved its passing rate on half of the state’s standardized tests this year compared to last year but continued to lag behind the state average.

And Houston County schools improved on more than half of them compared to last year and beat the state average on even more.

State law requires public schools to administer the Georgia Milestones Assessment System in grades 3-12 each spring to measure how well students are learning the curriculum. The results are reported on one of four levels, as defined by the Georgia Department of Education:

  • Beginning learners need substantial academic support to be prepared for the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.

  • Developing learners need some academic support to ensure success in the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.

  • Proficient learners are prepared for the next grade level and are on track for college and career readiness.

  • Distinguished learners are well prepared for the next grade level or course and for college and career readiness.

Students scoring on the proficient or distinguished levels are considered to have passed the test because they demonstrated the knowledge and skills specified in Georgia’s content standards.

Bibb County

Comparing the 2017 and 2018 scores, Bibb’s passing rate increased on 13 tests: fifth-grade English language arts, fifth-grade math, sixth-grade English language arts, sixth-grade math, seventh-grade English language arts, seventh-grade math, eighth-grade science, American literature, analytic geometry, algebra, geometry, physics and U.S. history.

Bibb’s passing rate decreased on eight tests: third-grade English language arts, third-grade math, fifth-grade social studies, eighth-grade English language arts, eighth-grade math, eighth-grade social studies, ninth-grade literature and economics.

Bibb’s passing rate remained the same on five tests: fourth-grade English language arts, fourth-grade math, fifth-grade science, coordinate algebra and biology.

Bibb’s gap with the state average passing rate is double-digit percentage points on every 2018 test except physics, where Bibb lags behind the state just six percentage points.

Comparing the 2017 and 2018 test scores, Bibb’s gap with the state’s average passing rate narrowed on 10 tests: third-grade English language arts, fifth-grade science, sixth-grade English language arts, sixth-grade math, seventh-grade English language arts, American literature, analytic geometry, geometry, physics and U.S. history.

Bibb’s gap with the state’s average passing rate widened on nine tests: third-grade math, fourth-grade math, fifth-grade social studies, seventh-grade math, eighth-grade English language arts, eighth-grade math, eighth-grade social studies, biology and economics.

Bibb’s gap with the state’s average passing rate remained the same on seven tests: fourth-grade English language arts, fifth-grade English language arts, fifth-grade math, eighth-grade science, ninth-grade literature, coordinate algebra and algebra.

“Teachers and students are to be commended for the growth demonstrated the past few years. While there is still a great deal of work to be done, our scores demonstrate that we are getting better each year, and we are closing the achievement gap with the state,” Bibb superintendent Curtis Jones said in a news release. “I am certain that with our continued focus on academic improvements and interventions in core content areas, we are well on our way to extinguishing the achievement gap with students across the state.”

Cirrus Academy, a state charter school that opened in 2016 for K-8 students in Macon, continued its poor performance on the Georgia Milestones.

On the tests it administered in 2018, the highest passing rate for Cirrus was 15.8 percent in eighth-grade English language arts (compared to a state average of 45 percent) and eighth-grade science (compared to a state average of 39 percent).

None of the tested fifth-graders at Cirrus met the state standards in math or social studies.

At the Academy for Classical Education, a local charter school that opened in 2014 in Macon, the passing rate was more than 50 percent on all but one of the Georgia Milestones ACE administered in 2018. The only exception was in fifth-grade social studies, where 46.8 percent of students passed.

On five of the tests — third-grade math, American literature, geometry, physics and U.S. history — more than 75 percent of ACE students passed.

Houston County

Comparing the 2017 and 2018 scores, Houston County’s passing rate increased on 13 tests: fourth-grade math, fifth-grade English language arts, fifth-grade math, sixth-grade math, seventh-grade math, eighth-grade English language arts, eighth-grade math, eighth-grade science, eighth-grade social studies, algebra, physics, biology and economics.

Houston County’s passing rate decreased on 11 tests: third-grade English language arts, third-grade math, fourth-grade English language arts, fifth-grade science, fifth-grade social studies, sixth-grade English language arts, seventh-grade English language arts, ninth-grade literature, American literature, geometry and U.S. history.

Compared to the state average, Houston County has a better passing rate this year on 19 tests, worse on four tests (fifth-grade social studies, sixth-grade English language arts, seventh-grade English language arts and American literature) and the same on one test (biology).

This performance widened the gap Houston County has over the state average. Last year, the district had a better passing rate on 17 tests and worse on seven.

In fact, Houston County improved so much on five tests — eighth-grade English language arts, eighth-grade social studies, physics, biology and economics — the district went from trailing to superseding those state averages. The most dramatic example is in physics, where the district’s passing rate increased from 30.9 percent to 45.6 percent while the state average remained at 42 percent.

“We are proud of our students’ performance on the Georgia Milestones and commend our teachers, administrators and parents,” Houston superintendent Mark Scott said in a news release. “We will continue to work to deliver standards-based instruction, which is differentiated for individual students’ strengths and weaknesses.”

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The Georgia Milestones tests are approaching, and some Bibb County schools are hosting Saturday study sessions to help prepare students. About 100 students have been attending the three-hour sessions at Miller Magnet Middle School.

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