Education Trends: Testing In Georgia Schools Gets Overhaul, Evaluations Affecting Student & Teacher Performance

By Myka Bomediano, Parent Herald April 05, 04:30 am

No matter what grade they are in, children undergo mandatory tests on a regular basis to determine their progress in school. A new legislation being passed in Georgia will lessen the number of these tests tied to teachers' performances. However, this will also reduce the effect of teacher's evaluations in their own school performance from 70 to 40 percent.

The bill, if approved, will cut a fraction of the tests from 32 to 24. While this would lessen the stress on the kids, it would also reduce the percentage for teacher's evaluations down to 30 percent from the previous 50 percent.

Administrators will be glad for the changes, though. According to Gainesville Times, it will also cut their "observation time" in half for those they think are "proficient." Instead, they will be able to spend most of their time helping new teachers who they note are having difficulty coping. 

MyAJC noted that while this will result to less exam preparation, schools will find it more difficult to identify weak teachers. However, State Superintendent Richard Woods said that the reduction of these tests and their consequences would lead teachers to be more creative in their teaching methods as they won't have to focus on test results to be deemed effective.

The bill is backed by most education groups in Georgia, including the state's 200,000 strong PTA members. "This bill will probably have more positive impact on education than any we've seen in quite a while," said Sen. Lindsey Tippins, the bill's main sponsor.

National emphasis on these kinds of mandatory testing were reduced last December with the adaptation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The old law required the use of these tests to indicate teacher performance, holding them accountable for their students' results. The new overhaul, meanwhile, will lessen said consequences for them, although the specifics are yet to be discussed.

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