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Dawson schools see Milestones scores above state average
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The Georgia Department of Education released state Milestones test results last week, which showed many gains for the Dawson County School system, according to Tracey Compton, director of school improvement and accountability for Dawson County.

Compton said that Dawson County scores in English Language Arts increased in elementary grades, scores in all content areas for middle grades were above state average and high school students scored above state average in all end of course assessments.

During the Georgia Milestones Assessment System exams, students in grades three through eight are tested using an end of grade test, while high school students are administered end of course tests at the end of the winter and spring semesters.

Students are graded in four levels, from the lowest, which is beginning learner, to developing learner, proficient learner and distinguished learner. Students who are rated a developing learner or above are considered to have a passing grade.

Compton compared district scores to last year's scores, as well as to state scores and scores within the local RESA.

Compton said that making comparisons from year to year allows the system to celebrate successes and address areas of concerns.

According to Compton, the scores show that in grades three through five, district GMAS averages for students scoring developing, proficient, and distinguished in ELA increased in each grade level, while scores in math showed no significant difference from 2016 to 2017.

"However, significant gains were noted in several grade levels at individual schools," Compton said about math scores.

Results were also compared by RESA, or Regional Educational Service Agency.

Dawson County belongs in the Pioneer RESA, which is one of the top performing RESA districts in the state, Compton said.

Compton said that out of 14 Pioneer RESA districts, the district's fifth grade ELA scores ranked second, the district's seventh grade ELA scores ranked second and the district's eighth grade socials studies scores ranked second.

Also, Dawson County students taking the Economics end of course test ranked second and students taking U.S. History ranked third in the Pioneer RESA districts.

Another comparison made was between the district and state scores.

In grades three through eight, district GMAS averages for students scoring developing, proficient, and distinguished was higher than the state in eight out of eight content areas, Compton said. In grades nine through 12, district GMAS averages for students scoring developing, proficient, and distinguished was at or above the state in eight out of eight EOC courses.

For all high school GMAS End of Course assessments, students in grades eight through 12 scored above the state average in all End of Course assessments last year and this year, Compton said.

The greatest growth was witnessed in Economics and U.S. History.

This is the third year of the Milestones testing, which replaced the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) for the 2014-2015 school year. This is the second year that all of the testing was administered completely online to all students in the county.

Compton said the district recently received hard copies of the individual student GMAS reports.

Students will receive individual reports in early August, she said.

To find more information about the GMAS and scoring online, visit gadoe.org.

DCN regional staff contributed to this report.