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 GaDOE Library Media Update - October 2017

Table of Contents

  • Georgia’s Graduation Rate Increases for Sixth Straight Year, Tops 80 Percent
  • Georgia Department of Education Announces Plans to Pursue Testing Flexibility
  • Georgia Students Outperform Nation in ‘Evidence-based Reading and Writing’ on Redesigned SAT
  • Georgia Students Again Outperform Nation on ACT
  • Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition
  • Speakaboos! Now Available on GALILEO for Public K-12 Schools
  • GPB Education Launches the Civil Rights Movement Virtual Learning Journey
  • Worth Sharing
  • Going Social
  • GaDOE Media Mailing List

Georgia’s Graduation Rate Increases for Sixth Straight Year, Tops 80 Percent

Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased for the fifth straight year, from 79.4 percent in 2016 to 80.6 percent in 2017.

This is the first year Georgia’s graduation rate has risen above 80 percent using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law. Fifty Georgia school districts recorded 2017 graduation rates at or above 90 percent.

The graduation rate continues to rise as Georgia’s schools and districts increase students’ access to unique, personalized learning opportunities that keep students engaged – including Career Pathways, dual enrollment, AP and IB programs, work-based learning, and internships. Local districts and schools are utilizing data more effectively to identify students’ individual learning needs; there is increased emphasis on a balanced curriculum that supports the whole child and a positive school climate that allows students to learn in a safe, supportive environment.

“It’s wonderful to see Georgia’s graduation rate continue to rise – and rise above 80 percent this year – because we’re not just talking about data points,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We’re talking about individual students who are moving on, ready and prepared, to their next phase of life. Georgia’s teachers, districts, and schools are personalizing education for each individual student, making sure those students are motivated and encouraged to stay in the classroom because they’re engaged in their learning, because they see how their education connects with their future goals.” 

Georgia Department of Education Announces Plans to Pursue Testing Flexibility

State School Superintendent Richard Woods creates Assessment Innovation & Flexibility Task Force, establishes Assessment Innovation Fund, communicates intent to apply for Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority

In accordance with Georgia’s submitted state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and in line with recommendations from Georgia’s Assessment Working Committee, State School Superintendent Richard Woods is establishing an Assessment Innovation and Flexibility Task Force and an Assessment Innovation Fund.
And today, Superintendent Woods sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expressing Georgia’s intent to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority, which allows state education agencies to pilot innovative assessments for accountability and reporting purposes, with the intent of scaling these innovative assessments statewide.
“The model of standardized testing that arose during the No Child Left Behind years – end-of-year summative assessments that provide a one-day snapshot too late for teachers to provide remediation – is not working for our kids,” Superintendent Woods said. “Georgia has a real opportunity, working with innovative leaders in our local school districts who are at the forefront of these efforts, to change the way testing works in our public schools. We have an opportunity to build a model of assessment that is focused where it should be – on student learning. ESSA provides new opportunities for flexibility from the restrictive federal guidelines that govern testing in K-12 schools, and Georgia will aggressively pursue that flexibility for the benefit of our students.”  

Georgia Students Outperform Nation in ‘Evidence-based Reading and Writing’ on Redesigned SAT

Georgia students outperformed the nation in evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) on the SAT, according to results released by the College Board today. The results also show that a higher percentage of Georgia high school students met the College Board’s College and Career Readiness Benchmark for that subject area.

Georgia students recorded a mean total score of 1050 – a mean ERW score of 535, compared to the national mean of 533, and a mean Math score of 515.

Significantly more Georgia students take the SAT than the nationwide percentage – with 61% of Georgia graduates in the class of 2017 taking the SAT during high school, compared to 47% of graduates nationally.

2017 SAT results set a new baseline for future year-to-year comparisons and cannot be compared to previous results. Results from earlier reports were based on the old SAT, which was based on a different score scale and different benchmarks. The 2017 results reflect test-takers from the 2017 graduating class who took the new SAT (93% of the cohort). They do not factor in performance on the old SAT

Georgia Students Again Outperform Nation on ACT

Georgia’s students showed continued improvement on the ACT in 2017, increasing the state’s average composite score and the percentage of students meeting the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks.

Georgia’s average composite score of 21.4 was higher, for the second consecutive year and the second time in state history, than the national average of 21. Georgia also outperformed the nation in English, reading, science, and mathematics.

“Georgia students continue to increase their scores – and outpace the nation – on the ACT,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “This is a testament to the hard work of Georgia’s students and educators as they enjoy greater flexibility and fewer state restrictions in the classroom. We are seeing our students’ performance trending upward on multiple indicators of academic achievement, and seeing positive signs like a four-percentage-point jump in the percentage of students meeting the College Readiness Benchmark for reading is encouraging as we continue to focus on literacy.”

​Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition

The Georgia Language Arts Supervisors (GLAS) organization will facilitate the Young Georgia Authors contest this 2017-18 school year.  
Please contact Amy Fouse, President of Georgia Language Arts Supervisors (GLAS) for information about Young Georgia Authors at​.

Speakaboos! Now Available on GALILEO for Public K-12 Schools

GALILEO is pleased to announce the availability of Speakaboos for Georgia’s Public K-12 campuses. For now, this resource will only be authenticated by GALILEO via IP address at school/on campus, however, if you register and create a userid and password at start-up you can then download and use the mobile app (for Android or iOS) or login from  

If you do not wish to create an account, then simply click “continue as a guest” to proceed to the interactive content page.

What is Speakaboos? 

“Speakaboos is a growing library of 200+ stories and songs; both fiction and nonfiction, presented in categories that kids told us represent their interests: princesses, robots, vehicles, monsters, and more.”  The focus for Speakaboos content is PreK-2nd Grade. 

To learn more about Speakaboos methodology and educational philosophy, visit their web page

How do you Access Speakaboos via GALILEO?

There are several ways K-12 librarians and teachers may access Speakaboos via GALILEO in your library/school:

  • Go to the “Databases A-Z” list, choose “S” then choose Speakaboos from the list. 
  • From the Kids/Elementary GALILEO site, use the Speakaboos graphic listed on the main page.
  • Use the Speakaboos Express Link
You may also create your own Speakaboos account for app and at home access. 

If you have questions or if you experience any technical issues when using Speakaboos, please submit them to GALILEO Support Services via the Contact Us form on the GALILEO web page​

How do you get Around in Speakaboos?

Navigation in Speakaboos is straightforward. Simply click on an area of interest (space, classics, on the bus, etc.) to access content. To access the “Grownups” page (to search, including by lexile level) at any time, click and hold the icon at the top right of the interactive content screen.

Speakaboos is offered on a trial basis, and that trial will end in June 2018.

GPB Education Launches the Civil Rights Movement Virtual Learning Journey

In collaboration with Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Public Broadcasting produced a standards-based, virtual learning journey that transports students to a critical period of time in United States history. Brimming with comprehensive, cross-curricular content, including 14 videos, primary source images and documents, compelling photo galleries, interactive maps, artwork, music, and more, this virtual collection invites students into an engaging exploration of some of the most significant events of the Civil Rights Movement.

Worth Sharing

Going Social

GaDOE Media Mailing List

Do you want to share the GaDOE Media Updates? If so, encourage your colleagues to join the email mailing list by following the directions on this page.

Thank you,

Tony Vlachakis
Educational Technologist 
Library/Media Liaison