Fayette students said to do well on new Ga. tests

A new student growth model released by the Georgia Dept. of Education helped provide insight on how Fayette County school students are learning in the classroom. School system officials said Fayette students showed high levels of learning while needing to increase growth in some areas.

The Georgia Student Growth Model (GSGM) calculates growth percentiles by taking students’ previous scores on standardized tests and comparing them to those of other students in the state with similar achievement history in the same grade and content area assessed.

School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said Fayette did well under the new measure, with students showing high levels of academic growth both in areas where pass rates are high and where they are low.

Citing an example of the findings, Berry-Dreisbach said, “On the eighth grade End of Course Test (EOCT) in coordinate algebra, 100 percent of students met or exceeded the standards while posting a growth percentile of 70, meaning students are continuing to advance their learning even with a perfect passing percentage. On the flip side, the tenth grade EOCT in coordinate algebra shows only 17 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standards, but the academic growth percentile is 70.5. This indicates that classroom learning is high, and should lead to improved scores in the future.”

Berry-Dreisbach said there are a handful of areas where achievement is high but with low growth, such as on the sixth grade Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in science where 89 percent of students met or exceeded standards but with an academic growth percentile of 46.

“If Fayette’s students are to increase or maintain their high achievement level, then their academic growth must increase,” Berry-Dreisbach said. “This information helps the curriculum and instruction department know where to make adjustments that will help facilitate increased classroom learning for higher achievement.”

Berry-Dreisbach said parents will receive individual reports on their students so they can see how they are progressing compared to other students academically similar to them.

“Teachers will also have access to the reports to help them determine areas of focus in the classroom,” said Berry-Dreisbach.

Those interested can view the information online by district or by school (individual student reports are not available to the public) at www.gastudentgrowth.gadoe.org

The Georgia Student Growth Model calculates growth percentiles for the CRCT (grades 4-8) in reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies; and for the EOCT in physical science, ninth grade literature/composition, eleventh grade literature/composition, U.S. history, economics/business/free enterprise, mathematics I, mathematics II, Ga. Performance Standards algebra, GPS geometry, coordinate algebra and analytic geometry.

The model will also be used with the state’s new testing assessment, Georgia Milestones, which will replace the CRCT and EOCT this year, said Berry-Dreisbach.

Berry-Dreisbach said two years of prior test data are used to set growth percentiles, but one year is used when two years are not available. The data used for the inaugural launch of the Ga. Student Growth Model is based on the 2013 school year. Data reflecting the 2014 school year student progress will be available in late fall.