Georgia education officials are on a tight deadline to come up with a new test for students in grades 3-12. The tests will be aligned with the Common Core education standards. Officials have been working on a solution since withdrawing from a national test consortium last summer.
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There are two national test consortia created by a federal education grant. Georgia has withdrawn from both. Having national tests makes comparing students’ performance easier. It’s unclear how comparable Georgia’s test will be. But, state assessment director Melissa Fincher says officials are teaming up to some degree with states like Kentucky and Florida:
“We’re talking about sharing, now that we have common standards, that opens the door to sharing test items, and so that’s what we’re working towards.”
How that will work is up in the air. Georgia could exchange questions with each state. It could buy questions from one or the other. It could buy the test Florida develops or come up with its own.
The U.S. Education Department is raising the minimum passing scores for state tests next year. State superintendent and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Barge says that will likely impact students’ scores.
“I anticipate that there will be drops. But people need to understand that it will be a much more rigorous test, and that we are raising our expectations as a state of what we expect of our students to pass the test.”
Fincher expects to have a test in place by July. Students are scheduled to take the test next year.