Education

Here’s how Muscogee, Harris, Chattahoochee counties did on 2019 Georgia Milestones tests

Here’s how you can contact your Muscogee County School Board member

The Muscogee County Board of Education is the elected governing body of the Muscogee County School District. The school board consists of nine members. Eight of the members are elected from districts. One is elected at large.
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The Muscogee County Board of Education is the elected governing body of the Muscogee County School District. The school board consists of nine members. Eight of the members are elected from districts. One is elected at large.

The Muscogee County School District improved its performance this year compared to last year on three-fourths of the state’s accountability tests, according to data released Friday by the Georgia Department of Education.

The results of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System are reported on one of four levels:

  • Beginning Learner
  • Developing Learner
  • Proficient Learner
  • Distinguished Learner

Scoring at the Proficient or Distinguished levels is considered passing the test.

There are End of Grade tests in English language arts and math for grades 3-8, End of Grade tests in science and social studies for grades 5 and 8,

There are also End of Course tests in designated core subjects for grades 9-12. Those subjects are:

  • Ninth-Grade Literature & Composition
  • American Literature & Composition
  • Algebra I or Coordinate Algebra
  • Geometry or Analytic Geometry
  • Biology
  • Physical Science
  • U.S. History
  • Economics.

Local students take Algebra I and Geometry instead of Coordinate Algebra and Analytic Geometry.

The scores the GaDOE released Friday are the results of tests taken during the spring of 2019. They don’t include results of End of Course tests taken during the fall of 2018 by students at schools with block schedules.

Comparing the 2019 results to 2018 on the 24 tests MCSD students took in grades 3-12, the average passing rate increased on 18 tests, decreased on five tests (fourth-grade English language arts, fifth-grade social studies, sixth-grade math, seventh-grade math and economics) and stayed the same on one (fifth-grade math).

“The hard work and dedication of all our students, teachers, and administrators is to be commended,” MCSD superintendent David Lewis said in the district’s news release. “We are pleased with the results overall and the gains with English Language Arts, in particular. Our focus on literacy continues to have a positive impact as reflected in the decrease of beginning learners and moving more students toward proficiency.”

Lewis added, “The overwhelming majority of our high school courses continue to trend upward with more students moving towards mastery across multiple subjects. We will continue to build on our foundation in literacy while we provide additional supports for the areas of math that have improved, but not yet realized our full expectations.”

While MCSD continues to lag the Georgia average on every test, the district closed its gap or kept pace with the state’s overall improvement on 15 of the 24 comparable tests.

MCSD also continues to outperform the school districts in the state’s other second-tier cities: Bibb County (Macon), Chatham County (Savannah) and Richmond County (Augusta). MCSD has the highest passing rate among them on 17 of the 24 comparable tests.

The GaDOE’s data also includes a measurement called “Reading Status,” which shows the percentage of students reading at or above grade level in grades 3-8. MCSD improved its percentage in all six of those grades.

“While we are seeing progress in ELA, the results indicate that we need a constant focus on mathematics,” MCSD chief academic officer Keith Seifert said in the news release. “We plan to continue implementing our new math curriculum resources in middle and high schools to help teachers with targeted instruction and resource implementation.”

Harris County

The Harris County School District improved its passing rate on 16 of the 24 comparable tests. Its score decreased in fourth-grade English and math, fifth-grade math, seventh-grade English, eighth-grade social studies, American Literature & Composition, Algebra I and Geometry.

“We went from nine subjects having 50% or greater proficiency to 15 subjects with 50% or greater proficiency,” Dave Dennie, the HCSD assistant superintendent for curriculum, told the L-E via email.

HCSD’s 2019 third-graders were the district’s highest-achieving group at the grade level in the five-year history of the Georgia Milestones, he noted, with 60% proficiency in English language arts and 59% in math.

Compared to the state average, HCSD’s passing rate is superior in all but American Literature & Composition, Algebra I and Geometry and is tied in Physical Science.

“Economics — which typically lagged behind the State for the past couple of years — not only improved by 13% but surpassed both the RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) and State proficiency percentages,” Dennie said.

HCSD’s Reading Status improved in grades 3-5 and eighth but dropped in grades 6-7.

Asked what concerns him the most about HCSD’s scores and how the district is addressing that concern, Dennie mentioned fourth-grade English and math, as well as Algebra I, where the performance levels have fallen during the past four years.

“Where there are large gaps, we are getting back to basics and unpacking standards to make sure what we are teaching in the classroom is what is being assessed on the Milestones,” he said. “We are looking at testing blueprints provided by the State and ensuring we are placing our focus on areas the State identifies with a heavy emphasis.

“District-wide, we are working on implementing common formative assessments, but are doing so at a pace that is manageable by both teachers and district support personnel. Our plan is set up to have continuous, sustained improvement over the next three to five years.”

Dennie added, “Harris County is a great school district with dedicated faculty, staff, parents and students that will rise to this challenge.”

Chattahoochee County

The Chattahoochee County School District improved its passing rate on 17 of the 24 comparable tests. Its scores decreased in fourth-grade English, sixth-grade math, seventh-grade math, eighth-grade math, Geometry, Physical Science and U.S. History.

In a news release, ChattCo superintendent Kristie Brooks said the teachers “have been able to meet each student where they are and provide individualized support to ensure each student meets and exceeds growth targets.”

Compared to the state average, ChattCo’s passing rate is superior in third-grade English and math, fourth-grade math, fifth-grade English, science and social studies, Ninth-grade Literature & Composition, and Biology.

“Realizing that students rise to the level of expectations set forth for them, the system is committed to increasing the rigor of instruction and expected work of students so each student can develop deeper skills in critical thinking and problem solving required for life beyond school,” Brooks said.

ChattCo’s Reading Status improved in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 but dropped in grades 5 and 8.

Brooks credits the grade-level data teams for analyzing individual student work to find the content areas that need to be taught again. ChattCo will expand that approach to include data teams comprising multiple grade levels “to take students further in their learning and development of more complex thinking and problem solving,” she said.

Waiver for some districts

Monday, the GaDOE announced that the U.S. Department of Education has approved Georgia’s participation in the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority.

The waiver allows two groups of school districts — none local — to experiment with a different set of standardized tests through the 2023-24 school year to determined whether either of the assessments should be administered statewide.

One of those groups is the Georgia MAP Partnership, comprising Marietta, Dalton and Trion city schools and the Clayton, Floyd, Jackson, Jasper, Polk, Gilmer and Haralson county school districts, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting’s report.

The other group is the Putnam County Consortium, comprising Calhoun city schools and the Dougherty, Evans, Fayette, Floyd, Liberty, McIntosh, Oglethorpe and Pike county school districts, GPB reported.

IADA pilot states must demonstrate, according to the U.S. Department of Education, “how their innovative assessments are developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, aligned to challenging state academic standards and accessible to all students through use of principles of universal design for learning, among other requirements.”

Georgia and North Carolina joined the first two IADA pilot states, Louisiana and New Hampshire, which were granted the testing flexibility last year.

GEORGIA MILESTONES SCORES

The following charts show how the Muscogee County School District performed on the Georgia Milestones Assessment System tests in 2019 compared to 2018 and the other districts in Georgia’s second-tier cities: Bibb County (Macon), Chatham County (Savannah) and Richmond County (Augusta).

Scores for two other Columbus area districts also are shown, Harris and Chattahoochee counties, as well as the state average.

The state divides the results into four categories: Beginning Learner, Developing Learner, Proficient Learner and Distinguished Learner. The numbers in these charts are the percentages of students who scored as Proficient or Distinguished, meaning at least on grade level, which is considered passing. The “Reading Status” is based on the percentage of students reading at or above grade level.

Note: Some 2018 scores might differ from the original report last year because of additional results and rounding to the nearest whole number.

THIRD GRADE

Reading Status

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

60.1

67.5

+7.4

Bibb Co.

53.2

59.6

+6.4

Chatham Co.

60.3

62.4

+2.1

Richmond Co.

52.6

53.8

+1.2

Harris Co.

80.6

86.6

+6.0

Chattahoochee Co.

65.0

83.0

+18.0

State

68

73

+5

English Language Arts

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

28.1

34.0

+5.9

Bibb Co.

20.2

26.9

+6.7

Chatham Co.

23.2

28.1

+4.9

Richmond Co.

22.1

21.3

-0.8

Harris Co.

42.4

59.7

+17.3

Chattahoochee Co.

42.5

46.8

+4.3

State

37

42

+5









Math

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

31.5

37.6

+6.1

Bibb Co.

28.0

30.8

+2.8

Chatham Co.

34.5

39.6

+5.1

Richmond Co.

27.5

26.4

-1.1

Harris Co.

50.1

59.4

+9.3

Chattahoochee Co.

53.7

57.4

+3.7

State

46

52

+6

FOURTH GRADE

Reading Status

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

55.7

57.2

+1.5

Bibb Co.

48.9

52.5

+3.6

Chatham Co.

56.5

53.7

-2.8

Richmond Co.

46.4

45.0

-1.4

Harris Co.

71.7

72.1

+0.4

Chattahoochee Co.

60.0

64.4

+4.4

State

63

64

+1

English Language Arts

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

32.7

30.0

-2.7

Bibb Co.

26.0

27.7

+1.7

Chatham Co.

30.1

28.5

-1.6

Richmond Co.

24.0

21.9

-2.1

Harris Co.

48.5

45.1

-3.4

Chattahoochee Co.

40.0

37.8

-2.2

State

41

43

+2

Math

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

30.0

32.2

+2.2

Bibb Co.

29.5

32.8

+3.3

Chatham Co.

34.0

35.2

+1.2

Richmond Co.

29.8

28.0

-1.8

Harris Co.

55.1

53.6

-1.5

Chattahoochee Co.

42.5

51.1

+8.6

State

47

50

+3

FIFTH GRADE

Reading Status

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

66.5

69.0

+2.5

Bibb Co.

57.4

65.1

+7.7

Chatham Co.

64.8

65.1

+0.3

Richmond Co.

55.8

58.3

+2.5

Harris Co.

78.5

80.1

+1.6

Chattahoochee Co.

79.1

78.4

-0.7

State

70

73

+3

English Language Arts

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

35.4

38.7

+3.3

Bibb Co.

28.9

32.0

+3.1

Chatham Co.

31.2

29.8

-1.4

Richmond Co.

24.2

27.1

+2.9

Harris Co.

45.4

49.9

+4.5

Chattahoochee Co.

37.2

48.6

+11.4

State

41

45

+4

Math

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

29.2

29.2

0

Bibb Co.

26.9

26.3

-0.6

Chatham Co.

28.7

27.6

-1.1

Richmond Co.

21.8

24.9

+3.1

Harris Co.

43.7

42.6

-1.1

Chattahoochee Co.

16.3

35.1

+18.8

State

39

40

+1

Science

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

33.4

35.1

+1.7

Bibb Co.

26.1

27.0

+0.9

Chatham Co.

28.2

27.7

-0.5

Richmond Co.

19.8

21.1

+1.3

Harris Co.

51.5

53.5

+2.0

Chattahoochee Co.

48.8

67.6

+18.8

State

39

43

+4

Social studies

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

25.6

25.1

-0.5

Bibb Co.

17.6

17.1

-0.5

Chatham Co.

19.2

17.0

-2.2

Richmond Co.

12.8

10.0

-2.8

Harris Co.

36.6

45.5

+8.9

Chattahoochee Co.

34.9

40.5

+5.6

State

30

30

0

SIXTH GRADE

Reading Status

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

53.6

54.8

+1.2

Bibb Co.

47.1

46.6

-0.5

Chatham Co.

52.8

52.4

-0.4

Richmond Co.

43.2

44.6

+1.4

Harris Co.

69.3

68.9

-0.4

Chattahoochee Co.

51.1

55.4

+4.3

State

61

61

0

English Language Arts

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

29.5

38.8

+9.3

Bibb Co.

25.0

31.0

+6.0

Chatham Co.

29.2

34.0

+4.8

Richmond Co.

22.6

28.2

+5.6

Harris Co.

41.6

53.8

+12.2

Chattahoochee Co.

25.5

28.6

+3.1

State

38

46

+8

Math

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

28.9

27.1

-1.8

Bibb Co.

19.4

20.5

+1.1

Chatham Co.

23.3

27.3

+4.0

Richmond Co.

17.1

18.8

+1.7

Harris Co.

54.1

54.8

+0.7

Chattahoochee Co.

34.0

16.1

-17.9

State

38

39

+1

SEVENTH GRADE

Reading Status

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

63.2

68.2

+5.0

Bibb Co.

52.1

62.5

+10.4

Chatham Co.

66.6

68.0

+1.4

Richmond Co.

55.2

60.9

+5.7

Harris Co.

82.9

81.1

-1.8

Chattahoochee Co.

64.4

74.0

+9.6

State

71

75

+4

English Language Arts

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

30.0

31.4

+1.4

Bibb Co.

19.8

24.3

+4.5

Chatham Co.

29.9

28.1

-1.8

Richmond Co.

22.1

22.4

+0.3

Harris Co.

46.6

42.2

-4.4

Chattahoochee Co.

28.9

34.0

+5.1

State

38

39

+1

Math

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

32.2

30.8

-1.4

Bibb Co.

18.4

22.1

+3.7

Chatham Co.

29.6

29.1

-0.5

Richmond Co.

22.4

19.5

-2.9

Harris Co.

58.7

58.8

+0.1

Chattahoochee Co.

46.7

38.0

-8.7

State

43

43

0

EIGHTH GRADE

Reading Status

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

66.7

69.0

+2.3

Bibb Co.

57.4

58.7

+1.3

Chatham Co.

68.9

55.9

-13.0

Richmond Co.

59.6

59.2

-0.4

Harris Co.

82.8

84.6

+1.8

Chattahoochee Co.

70.4

63.3

-7.1

State

73

74

+1

English Language Arts

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

34.3

41.9

+7.6

Bibb Co.

23.7

29.4

+5.7

Chatham Co.

43.7

38.7

-5.0

Richmond Co.

27.6

29.6

+2.0

Harris Co.

49.3

55.6

+6.3

Chattahoochee Co.

27.8

30.0

+2.2

State

45

49

+4

Math

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

31.5

36.0

+4.5

Bibb Co.

18.4

18.3

-0.1

Chatham Co.

24.5

30.0

+5.5

Richmond Co.

16.0

12.5

-3.5

Harris Co.

56.2

56.8

+0.6

Chattahoochee Co.

18.5

15.0

-3.5

State

43

44

+1

Science

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

27.9

32.9

+5.0

Bibb Co.

17.9

18.9

+1.0

Chatham Co.

23.5

25.7

+2.2

Richmond Co.

16.5

14.4

-2.1

Harris Co.

58.9

62.7

+3.8

Chattahoochee Co.

27.8

30.0

+2.2

State

39

41

+2

Social studies

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

29.3

32.7

+3.4

Bibb Co.

22.5

21.4

-1.1

Chatham Co.

26.3

28.1

+1.8

Richmond Co.

20.4

17.4

-3.0

Harris Co.

51.1

47.6

-3.5

Chattahoochee Co.

27.8

40.0

+12.2

State

41

41

0

HIGH SCHOOL

Ninth-Grade Literature & Composition

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

44.7

53.9

+9.2

Bibb Co.

29.9

40.8

+10.9

Chatham Co.

43.8

59.5

+15.7

Richmond Co.

30.7

39.1

+8.4

Harris Co.

48.0

66.9

+18.9

Chattahoochee Co.

44.1

63.2

+19.1

State

52

61

+9

American Literature & Composition

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

39.9

41.0

+1.1

Bibb Co.

29.0

27.3

-1.7

Chatham Co.

43.0

40.8

-2.2

Richmond Co.

23.6

27.8

+4.2

Harris Co.

43.5

37.2

-6.3

Chattahoochee Co.

33.3

45.3

+12.0

State

47

48

+1

Algebra I

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

25.5

29.0

+3.5

Bibb Co.

18.5

18.3

-0.2

Chatham Co.

22.6

31.2

+8.6

Richmond Co.

10.3

10.8

+0.5

Harris Co.

47.5

39.8

-7.7

Chattahoochee Co.

14.7

30.3

+15.6

State

38

41

+3

Geometry

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

32.9

34.3

+1.4

Bibb Co.

19.9

21.8

+1.9

Chatham Co.

26.0

28.2

+2.2

Richmond Co.

19.2

10.1

-9.1

Harris Co.

49.8

38.2

-11.6

Chattahoochee Co.

41.8

40.0

-1.8

State

39

41

+2

Biology

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

43.2

43.3

+0.1

Bibb Co.

27.4

26.0

-1.4

Chatham Co.

37.7

40.7

+3.0

Richmond Co.

36.0

26.9

-9.1

Harris Co.

48.6

50.0

+1.4

Chattahoochee Co.

43.5

56.1

+12.6

State

49

49

0

Physical Science

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

27.9

33.5

+5.6

Bibb Co.

35.4

39.6

+4.2

Chatham Co.

36.2

38.1

+1.9

Richmond Co.

33.5

14.2

-19.3

Harris Co.

30.5

47.0

+16.5

Chattahoochee Co.

42.2

38.4

-3.8

State

42

47

+5

U.S. History

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

37.4

40.3

+2.9

Bibb Co.

20.8

22.8

+2.0

Chatham Co.

43.7

44.5

+0.8

Richmond Co.

23.1

22.5

-0.6

Harris Co.

49.0

59.6

+10.6

Chattahoochee Co.

35.7

24.0

-11.7

State

48

48

0

Economics

District

2018

2019

+/-

MCSD

48.4

44.8

-3.6

Bibb Co.

12.8

5.3

-7.5

Chatham Co.

34.0

34.2

+0.2

Richmond Co.

24.6

29.9

+5.3

Harris Co.

42.8

56.8

+14.0

Chattahoochee Co.

19.5

46.7

+27.2

State

49

47

-2









































































Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other issues related to youth. He also writes feature stories about any compelling topic. He has been reporting in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter-century. He welcomes your local news tips and questions.
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