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System proposes testing changes
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Forsyth County News

Pending state approval, End of Course Tests in math II and ninth grade literature will hold a little more weight next year.

Cindy Salloum, chief accountability officer for the Forsyth County school system, said the two tests would become how the district measures high school progress, as the Georgia High School Graduation Test is being phased out.

Progress needs to be measured as part of the system’s Investing in Education Excellence, or IE2 contract with the state. The contract requires more accountability in exchange for more flexibility from state mandates.

After a public hearing on the matter Thursday, Salloum said the two tests were chosen because every student must take them to graduate.

Math II was chosen over math I because the district has “a good number of our kids that take math I in eighth grade, so we’re not really measuring high school, we would be measuring middle school, so we decided we’d do math II.”

Salloum said if a student does not perform well on either test, the system has at least “two more years to work with [them].”

“This will increase our graduation rate because we’re going to know earlier which students are at risk,” Salloum said at the meeting.

The Forsyth County Office of Accountability has met with the state Board of Education several times, as well as with the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, to ensure the request is likely to pass.

With no comments made during the public hearing, the issue has been sent to the state board, which is set to vote on it Feb. 21.

Forsyth County School Superintendent Buster Evans commended Salloum, Karl Mercer, assessment coordinator, and Beth Kieffer, director of assessment.

“It took a lot to make this transition, but they’ve done a phenomenal job both catching up and cleaning up and now making this more applicable for the work of our schools and improvement,” Evans said.