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Students from Forsyth County took part in NAEP; state results similar to Milestones

FORSYTH COUNTY — Statewide results on a national standardized test show no movement or a slight decline from last time and are in line with the new Georgia Milestones scores released in September.

This was the first year the National Assessment of Educational Progress had been administered since 2013. It was given to randomly selected students throughout the state to gain a sample of proficiency.

NAEP questions were given in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math.

Though the state cannot share the names of the schools that participated in the testing, students from Forsyth County were included in the random sampling, according to Matt Cardoza, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Education.

“There were 259 [fourth-grade] students from three elementary schools in Forsyth and 248 [eighth-grade] students from three middle schools in Forsyth,” he said. “Each student only takes a part of the test from one subject.”

According to the state education department, the percentage of Georgia students scoring at or above the NAEP proficiency level for fourth-grade reading stayed the same, while two of the other areas declined — two percentage points in eighth-grade reading and one in eighth-grade mathematics.

The decrease in the percentage of students at or above the proficient level — 39 percent in 2013 to 35 percent in 2015 — in fourth-grade mathematics was considered more significant, officials said.

Similarly, the national results showed declines in all areas except fourth-grade reading.

“These results underscore the importance of strengthening our students’ foundational skills in reading and math,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

“At the state level, we’re committed to supporting districts in that work by producing better resources for teachers, fully vetting any new standards and initiatives, and providing greater flexibility so schools have room to innovate.”

Georgia Milestones also showed a lower percentage of students passing the standardized test compared to the now-retired CRCT.

“We have been criticized for having a gap between proficiency on our state tests and proficiency on the NAEP,” Woods said when the Milestones scores were released.

“Many of these reports have appropriately stated that what we require of our students on state tests doesn’t come close to the standard on the NAEP. That is simply unacceptable. If we are going to address students’ needs, then we must be honest about how much they really know.”

When the Milestones results were announced, officials said they cannot be directly compared to the old CRCT, as the standards are different.

They did say that the Milestones scores show a more realistic sense of where Georgia students are compared to the rest of the nation.


Fourth-grade reading


According to information provided by the state, the average reading scale score for students in Georgia was 222 in both 2013 and 2015.

National scores this year were 221.


Eighth-grade reading


The average reading score for Georgia students in eighth grade this year was 262, compared to the national score of 264.

In 2013, Georgia scored a 265. In 2011, the score was 262.


Fourth-grade mathematics


Georgia students scored a 236 this year in fourth-grade math, which represents a drop from 240 in 2013 and of 238 in 2011.

The national math score for that grade in 2015 was 240.


Eighth-grade mathematics


In 2015, a score of 279 was recorded for Georgia students on the eighth-grade mathematics exams, while the national score was 281.

In 2013, the statewide score was also 279, representing a change from 278 in 2011.