Georgia halves Milestones for current school year

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The state of Georgia has cut four high school Milestones to align with the federal education mandate. Teachers at Starr’s Mill look forward to the extra weeks they will have to teach students new material, but there are some concerns regarding if quality of instruction will change.

Emily Hawkins, Staff Writer

Students and teachers across the state have a surprising announcement to contend with: the number of required high school Milestones has been halved. Rather than the eight usual standardized tests, only four will be taken by Georgia high school students in 2021. 

Those who teach economics, physical science, ninth grade literature, and geometry will have to adjust accordingly. While teachers must create their own exams to replace the EOCTs, there will now be more weekdays for students to learn and review material. Teachers must still adhere to standards set by the state, but there is now more time to fully prepare students for teacher-given exams.  

“I think that teachers here do a great job,” assistant principal Brandi Meeks said. “While there might be impacts in other school systems, for now, I think our teachers do a phenomenal job of teaching and going by the standards that are set forth by the state.”

This summer, a Senate bill was passed decreasing the number of End of Course Tests for students in the state of Georgia. The state is looking to align more with the minimum number of required tests at the federal level, thus falling more in line with what is federally mandated. A lower number of EOCTs this year is expected to show what sort of impact decreased standardized tests will have on students and teachers alike. 

Teachers will be able to oversee exactly what topics will be covered in their exams, and collaborate with other teachers to ensure that their students are as well-prepared as possible. 

“The personal finance part of the class is really what graduating seniors need walking out the door,” economics teacher Walt Ellison said.

Students may feel less pressured regarding testing this year, and some teachers, in particular, might enjoy relief with this development as well. Not only is there more time to teach new material, but these extra few weeks with the absence of EOCTs will allow for more time to teach and learn content. 

“For me, it’s easier because you don’t have as much to cover,” geometry teacher John Bowen said. “Students should be able to get a little bit better grip on it, so we shouldn’t have as much struggle with it.”

This development will impact the curriculum for certain subjects. Students and educators who no longer have to work around an EOCT can expect a different pace in learning this school year. 

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