Georgia’s 2020-2021 assessment results can be used as one of several strategies to better understand how students are performing academically as part of Georgia’s COVID-19 academic recovery efforts. This year’s results meet the rigorous reliability standards of the state’s assessment program and are valid when interpreted in context: as one measure of students’ achievement toward mastery of the state’s academic content standards in the face of unprecedented challenges. With the context outlined below, assessment results from 2020-2021 provide an opportunity to inform the type of supports students, educators, and schools need to be successful as Georgia continues its academic recovery efforts.
- There were no modifications to the state’s assessments related to the nature of the pandemic. Critical aspects of these assessments remain consistent despite pandemic-related disruptions, including: the academic content standards, the achievement standards, the administration format, the scoring procedures, and the data-quality criteria.
- Some key factors have changed, which necessitates caution and context when interpreting individual or summary scores: many students received virtual instruction following interruptions and ; opportunity to learn has been variably reduced due to health and safety measures implemented; the contribution of Georgia Milestones EOC scores to final course grades was reduced in weight; in many places Georgia Milestones EOG scores were not utilized for student promotion and retention decisions; and fewer students participated in these administrations as compared to prior .
Before, during, and after the administration of this year’s assessments, standard operational analyses and quality assurance analyses were completed to evaluate and ensure the stability and accuracy of reported scores. The information below summarizes research completed following administration to evaluate interpretability of summary scores, and provides important context and guidance for this interpretation. For further information on the additional steps taken before and during administration to evaluate and ensure the stability and accuracy of reported scores for the Winter 2020 and Spring 2021 administrations of Georgia Milestones and GAA 2.0, please refer to the score evaluation and interpretation briefs linked below.
Representativeness based on percent of enrolled students tested: Given the conditions experienced in Georgia during the past year, we observed a lower percent of enrolled students tested. school level varies widely, and consequently, comparisons across years at the system and school level may not be appropriate. To contextualize 2020-2021 achievement, the percent of enrolled students tested is included with all summaries from Georgia Milestones EOG and EOC, GAA 2.0, GKIDS 2.0, and ACCESS for ELLs. Systems and schools with a low percentage of enrolled students tested should interpret summary scores with additional caution as these summary scores may not well-represent the larger population of the school or .
Representativeness based on prior achievement: The achievement history of the tested students was examined to identify, if present, any differences indicating the students who did test this year may not be representative of the total population. This analysis was completed for both Georgia Milestones and GAA 2.0. Results of this analysis indicated that while the percent of enrolled students tested this year was lower than typical years, the students who completed the Georgia Milestones and GAA 2.0 tests in 2021 are meaningfully representative of the state enrolled population based on their prior achievement. At the system and school level, results indicated some cases where this year’s tested population may not be representative of the full district or school. Georgia Milestones system and school results are reported with asterisks in such cases. Summary scores for systems and schools where the tested population of students may not be representative of the full system and school are noted in public reports and should be interpreted with additional caution.
Interpreting summary scores and trends: Achievement changes vary for students assessed on Georgia Milestones, ACCESS for ELLs, GAA 2.0, and GKIDS 2.0, but as a state, we observe somewhat lower achievement where longitudinal comparisons are available and appropriate. For example, at the state level on Georgia Milestones, there is an observed decrease in the percent of students at or above the Developing Learner level from 2019 to 2021, ranging from 2 percentage points to 15 percentage points. These decreases are relatively minor given the magnitude of learning disruptions Georgia students and educators experienced this school year. As we return to educational environments with fewer disruptions to learning, these decreases are likely to be recovered. While overall state performance is slightly lower, performance varies across systems and schools.
- Individual student results should be interpreted as one measure of a student's mastery of the knowledge and skills outlined in Georgia's academic standards. These scores are most meaningful when considered in the context of learning and any associated extenuating factors.
- Summaries of scores by student group, school, system and state should likewise be interpreted as one measure of mastery of the knowledge and skills outlined in the state's academic content standards. These scores should not be used as a part of a longitudinal trend analysis without including context of this year's pandemic and associated learning disruptions, proportion and representativeness of the tested population, and varying access to instruction.
When interpreting summary scores, district and school leaders and other stakeholders using these data are encouraged to:
Consider the percentage of the total population tested and take extra caution in interpretation in cases where a low percentage of the enrolled student population was tested at a given school or district;
Consider the representativeness and prior achievement of the tested population and take extra caution in interpretation of cases where differences indicate the students who did test this year may not be representative of your total student population;
Avoid punitive or accountability applications of these outcomes; and
Contextualize any changes in achievement with any local complexities your districts and schools may have faced within this last year (e.g., mode of instruction, enrollment rates, attendance rates).
Georgia 2020-2021 Assessment Results and Resources
Georgia Milestones Spring 2021 End of Grade (EOG)
Georgia Milestones Full Year 2020-2021 End of Course (EOC)
Additional Georgia Milestones 2020-2021 Resources
Georgia Alternate Assessment 2.0 (GAA 2.0) Statewide Scores
Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills 2.0 (GKIDS 2.0) Statewide Scores.
ACCESS for ELLs Statewide Scores