The state Board of Education voted Wednesday to let local school systems reduce the weight of the Georgia Milestones End-of-Course tests from 20% of a student’s final grade to 10%.
The Georgia Milestones tests assess whether students are meeting state standards in four core subject areas: English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
The Georgia Department of Education temporarily lowered the weight of the tests to 0.01% during the pandemic, citing the disruptions brought on by the need to switch from in-person to online instruction. The 0.01% grade weight was the most the state could water down the tests without running afoul of federal rules.
On Wednesday, supporters said giving school districts the ability to lower the weight of the tests from 20% to 10% is aimed at increasing flexibility for local systems.
“We are not changing the passing score on this test,” said board Vice Chairman Stan DeJarnett, one of nine board members who voted for the proposal. “What we are doing is giving districts flexibility.”
Opponents said lowering the weight of the tests does students a disservice by watering down the state’s graduation requirements.
“This the only chance we have to have [an] apples-to-apples [measure],” said Helen Rice, one of three who voted against the change. “If we drop to 10%, that drops the merit of the test.”