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Dawson Schools sees growth in most content areas of GA Milestones
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In the fourth year of the Georgia Milestones assessment, Dawson County students have shown improvement above state averages for the 2018 school year.

At the Aug. 13 board of education meeting, Nicole LeCave, director of teaching and learning, presented the district’s rankings in the assessments and showed how the district has improved its rankings in most content areas over the last school year.

The Georgia Milestones Assessment Systems, or GMAS, results for spring 2018 were released by the Georgia Department of Education July 27.

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.

Dawson County belongs to the Pioneer RESA, one of the most competitive RESA, or Regional Educational Service Agency, regions in the state. The district saw improvements in all but three rankings for FY18.

LeCave said that the number of students in grades three through eight reading above grade level was a higher percentage than the state and Pioneer RESA averages.

The district’s GMAS averages for students scoring developing, proficient and distinguished in grades three through fifth were higher than the state in eight out of eight content areas while students in grades six through eight scored higher than the state in seven out of eight content areas, she said. The exception was a slightly below state average in eighth grade science.

The end of course assessments completed by ninth through 12th graders as well as eighth grade students taking ninth grade level courses showed that the district’s GMAS averages for students scoring developing or higher were higher than the state in eight out of eight content areas and above Pioneer RESA in five out of eight areas.

Results from the Biology EOC in Dawson County show a 12 percentage point lead above the state average and 10 percentage points above Pioneer RESA, LeCave said. Physical Science showed similar results, with 13 percentage points above the state and 12 percentage points above Pioneer RESA.

In the state, eighth grade Social Studies ranked 10th, American Literature and Reading Above Grade Level ranked 16th and American Literature ranked 20th.

The end of course results for American Literature and Physical Science saw the most drastic changes in students scoring developing or higher with a five percent and four percent increase respectively.

The Milestones testing replaced the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) for the 2014-2015 school year and serves the same purpose as gaging where students are in their understanding of the course material.

The purpose of the EOG and EOC assessments is to provide information on how well students are mastering state adopted content standards and assist in improving school and program effectiveness. It also gives students and parents a snapshot into their progress and where improvement is needed.

This year based on the data, the district has set their improvement goals increasing the percentage of students reading above grade level, scoring proficient and distinguished in ELA and Math and increasing the percentage of IDEAS, or exceptional, students scoring developing and higher in ELA and Math.

Tracey Compton, director of school improvement and accountability for Dawson County, compiled the data for the 2018 GMAS.

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

Dawson County belongs to the Pioneer RESA, one of the most competitive RESA regions in the state. The district saw improvements in all but three rankings for FY18.

RESA Rankings FY17 to FY18

Third grade ELA remains sixth out of 13

Fourth grade ELA moved from eighth to sixth out of 13

Fifth grade ELA remains eighth out of 13

Sixth grade ELA remains sixth out of 13

Seventh grade ELA moved from fourth to second out of 13

Eighth grade ELA moved from fifth to third out of 13

Third grade Math moved from fifth to fourth out of 13

Fourth grade Math moved from eighth to third out of 13

Fifth grade Math moved from fourth to third out of 13

Sixth grade Math moved from 11th to sixth out of 13

Seventh grade Math moved from 12th to fifth out of 13

Eighth grade Math moved from 12th to eighth out of 13

Fifth grade Science moved from eighth to second out of 13

Eighth grade Science moved from eighth to ninth out of 13

Fifth grade Social Studies moved from 10th to fifth out of 13

Eighth grade Social Studies moved from third to first out of 13