Questions About Opting Out of Georgia Milestones Testing Skip to main content

Questions About Opting Out of Georgia Milestones Testing

     Charles WilsonBulloch County Schools will administer the Georgia Milestones Assessment System’s (GMAS) End-of-Grade tests each April to children in Third through Eighth Grades. For children in Ninth through Twelfth Grades, we administer the GMAS’s End-of-Course tests at the end of each course.

     I acknowledge that you may have a wide range of opinions about standardized tests from support to apprehension to objection. For this reason, I want to be open and honest with you about federal and state
legislation that governs testing in our district, how we use test data, and your rights as a parent or guardian so that you can decide the best course of action for your child.

First, current federal and state laws require public schools to annually assess all enrolled students. In Georgia, the State Board of Education has determined that the GMAS will fulfill this mandate. These laws have the following effect:

  • Laws do not include provisions that allow children to be opted out of state assessments.
  • The Georgia Department of Education and Bulloch County Schools do not have authority to waive student assessment requirements mandated by law (O.C.G.A. §20-2-281).
  • Bulloch County Schools is required to offer all students the opportunity to participate in state assessments.

Second, like you, I want all children to succeed in school and be academically healthy. The GMAS is a way to help teachers and principals conduct an academic checkup. We have dedicated teachers who want to know how your child is learning and growing. The state
assessments are an opportunity for children to show what they know.

  • Teachers collaborate in professional learning communities and use results to better guide instruction.
  • Teachers and principals use results in their school improvement teams to plan and direct resources.

Third, Georgia law (O.C.G.A. §20-2-282 - §20-2-285) and State Board of Education rules (160-4-2-.11 and 160-4-2-.13) carry direct consequences for children who do not take the state assessments:

  • For grades 3, 5 and 8, state assessment results are a requirement for promotion to the next grade level.
  • Failure to take the state mandated tests in grades 3, 5, and 8 in reading and/or mathematics on any of the designated testing date(s) will result in the student being retained in that grade.
  • Local Bulloch County Board of Education policy requires the same consideration for grades 4, 6, and 7.
  • For grades 9-12, some courses require a state assessment, known as an End-of-Course (EOC) test, at the end of the course. The EOC is the final exam for those courses and must count 20 percent of the child’s final grade. Thus, failure to take the test would result in a zero being recorded for 20 percent of the final grade for that course.

Fourth, if you feel led to advocate for changes in federal and state testing requirements, I encourage you to work properly within the legislative process. Our schools and classrooms should remain positive learning environments for children.

Finally, I respect your right to make educational decisions for your child; however, if you choose to not have your child take a state mandated assessment, please understand the following:

 

  • You assume responsibility for the absence of data and understand that it may affect future educational decisions now known and unknown such as course placement.
  • The school does not offer an alternate assessment or assignments in lieu of the state assessment.
  • Absences to avoid state assessments are considered unexcused absences.
  • You have the option to appeal the decision to retain your child.
  • You will not receive a Student Growth Percentile Report (SGP) for your child.
  • Schools will follow the Code of Conduct if any behavior issues arise.
  • It’s our goal to remain a partner with you and the community to ensure the best education possible for all children. To that end, if you have additional questions, please contact your school’s principal.

Sincerely,
Charles G. Wilson, Superintendent
Bulloch County Schools