Improving the Assessment of Georgia Students
Student assessment in Georgia is changing because the state's minimum competency program resulted in test-driven curriculum. Changes include testing at four grade levels instead of nine, making tests broader and more complex, and testing higher-order thinking as well as basic skills. These revisions are needed but fail to address fundamental concerns. In the past, state leadership used the testing program for accountability and pressure was exerted to obtain higher scores. Problems, including teaching for the tests, particularly in reading and mathematics, occurred.
Georgia's belief in top-down reform should change to encourage local schools to play a larger role in renewal. Local educators must be encouraged to use authentic assessment, as well as state-mandated tests, to evaluate objectives. Finally, if real progress is to occur, measurement education should be increased for all who are involved.