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Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and candidate for Georgia Governor, along with Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee, introduced legislation that claims to allow teachers to “stop teaching to the test.”

This legislation will allow ten school systems to pioneer an innovative statewide system that allows educators to abandon high-stakes standardized testing in favor of meeting the needs of individual students with individual formative assessments and local decision making.

However, formative assessments are already designed by local teachers or the district could utilize a contractor to create the assessments. Currently, some school district’s utilize the Georgia Center for Assessment for formative testing which aligns with the state’s standardized test, the Milestones.

The Georgia Center for Assessment is the contractor for the new 1st and 2nd-grade game-based pilot assessment known as Keenville – which is said to only be a voluntary test. The contract for the Keenville voluntary testing is $2.5 million for 2017-2018 fiscal year. It is likely that the contract will be renewed as the project timeline and training have not yet been implemented, according to an open record request obtained from the Georgia Department of Education.

Cagle feels his legislation “will end the effort at measuring our students’ academic performance with one-size-fits-all testing and will hopefully ease testing pressures on educators while ignoring other valuable indicators of individual student performance.”

Cagle hope’s this initiative is the first step in a plan to replace Georgia Milestones standardized testing and the state’s report card system (CCRPI) with a complete, objective accountability system.

Cagle’s news release states that the new testing “will empower local schools to take responsibility for the academic performance of their students and incorporate greater community involvement in the classroom.

Cagle’s release further states the following about the new testing bill:

Senate Bill 362 directs teachers, principals, and supporting faculty to accept individual accountability for our students without being forced to rely on and be measured by one single summative assessment. Individualized learning plans will give our educators a comprehensive view into how our schools are educating students. These newly designed measures will also empower our state to replace duplicative standardized testing for high school students with more relevant assessments like the ACT, SAT, and Accuplacer.

The new federal law, known as Every Student Succeeds Act, already allows for this flexibility and Cagle appears to be taking advantage of the state’s new education plan aligned to the new federal law.

“Georgia’s education system should be built around the individual needs of each student – not an outdated standardized testing model,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “It’s critical that we stop teaching to the test. Individualized learning plans will lead to measurable academic checkpoints, putting our students first and freeing teachers from bureaucratic mandates.”

“Lt. Governor Cagle’s vision for education is transforming schools across Georgia, providing our students with even greater opportunities for academic excellence. I’m excited for the future successes our school systems will experience when given true freedom from high-stakes testing and flexibility to adapt their curriculum and lesson plans to the needs of individual students and communities,” added Senator Tippins.

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Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns.  Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. He and his wife have lived in Camden County for 17 years, and they have two teenage children. Jeremy and his family live in St. Marys, GA and attend the Harbour Worship Center in Kingsland.


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