CCS Supports Governor's Legislation to Reduce High Stakes Testing

CCS Supports Governor's Legislation to Reduce High Stakes Testing

Gov. Brian Kemp along with State School Superintendent Richard Woods introduced this week a bill to reduce the impact of high-stakes standardized testing in Georgia. Currently, Georgia requires students to take seven assessments beyond the minimum federal standards; the bill proposes to remove five of those assessments. It will also shorten the length of the Georgia Milestones, allow for flexibility on the timing of state-mandated assessments, and move the testing window to the last five weeks of the school year.  

 At Cartersville City Schools (CCS), evaluating the process by which schools are held accountable and measured has been one of our top priorities. We know the successes of our students and our schools are measured in greater ways than simply by a test or by a letter grade.  

 Cartersville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Marc Feuerbach welcomes a more accurate accounting of the effectiveness of our efforts to educate the whole child. He said, “I completely support the Governor's proposed legislation and I hope that our representatives move swiftly to adopt the measure. This new bill highlights a conversation we have been having in our community since the Spring of 2019 regarding the vision to build a community-based accountability system that is founded on our hopes and dreams for our students.”  

Working alongside the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), John Tanner of Test Sense, the Schlechty Center and a select group of superintendents throughout the state, Cartersville City Schools has been seeking to develop a more meaningful model of accountability. We know our district and community receive very limited data from the high-stakes standardized tests that are required of our students each year. Historically we have spent a large amount of time, talent, and resources responding to the state's accountability system, the lagging test data we receive, and the grade (CCRPI) score given to us by the state. This process is and has always been a backward-facing process. 

Dr. Feuerbach is committed to developing a new accountability system that is ‘forward-facing’ and allows our students to benefit from actionable data. He said, “It is our goal to build a system that is fueled by the passion and interest of our students, our educators, and our community. We envision a system of accountability wherein state standardized tests are just one part of the overall picture measuring our success in meeting the needs of our students.” 

The new system, which will take two to three years to fully integrate, is built on Seven Pillars that we believe should be the primary focus of creating an effective school. The pillars are Student Achievement, Student Readiness, Engagement of the Whole Child, Community Partnerships, Quality Staff, Systems & Operations, and Safety & Well-Being. A key component in the developmental process of the Seven Pillars has been hearing from our stakeholders. Engaging with our stakeholders in a variety of ways including our first community conversation held in September of 2019 has given us the opportunity to simply listen. We have more conversations planned for the near future with the purpose of learning the hopes and dreams held by our community for our students.  

Dr. Feuerbach said, “The fundamental basis of education is development. We believe it is time for our district to embrace a new culture where we ask, ‘What do we want to accomplish?’ before we ask, ‘What do we want to measure?’”