Alternative testing bill passes Georgia Senate

Legislation that would let school districts experiment with home-gown alternatives to Georgia’s state standardized tests advanced through the state Senate Thursday.

The Georgia Milestones come at the end of a school year,  or in some cases at the end of a semester. That means teachers get the results after their students have moved on, so they complain that the tests don’t help them track how their students are doing. To help with that, districts implement their own tests given periodically through the year, which results in yet more time spent on testing.

 Senate Bill 362, by Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, establishes a pilot program for districts to experiment with supplanting the Milestones, which are used largely to hold schools accountable, with their own tests.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle backs the measure and its aim of "freeing our educators to focus on individual students instead of teaching to the test,” he said in a statement after the unanimous vote of approval. He said that if it becomes law, SB 362 will make Georgia a national leader in eliminating high-stakes testing, adding “we will continue to push for greater freedom and flexibility ... .”

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

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