February 1, 2015

GA Milestones Assessment Test Information

Administrators and teachers from Chamblee’s Huntley Hills Elementary School organized an informational night for parents regarding the new Georgia Milestones Assessment Test.

The PTA sold pizza and teachers in a classroom supervised children, while they watched Monsters University. This allowed for more parents to be able to attend and to focus on the subject at hand. Parents learned about the new test, saw sample questions and were given tips they can use to help support their child.

Below are some of the highlights, along with information not included in the formal PowerPoint presentation.
  • Since this is the first year of implementing the test, promotion to the next grade is NOT going to be tied to an individual’s test result. 
  • The test will be given April 21-30th 
  • There are going to be a lot of writing portions that will have to be individually graded; results likely won’t be available until Sept/Oct. 
  • A rubric system will be used to score the writing portions; there will be 2, 4 and 7 point rubrics, depending on the question. 
  • Language arts, mathematics, science and social studies will all be included. 
  • There will be multiple choice AND constructed responses, where children will be asked to explain their answer in words, charts, number lines, etc. 
  • The constructed responses will be very difficult for most students; they can often get the correct answer but can’t write an explanation as to how they got the correct answer. 
  • K-2 teachers need to (and have already) started prepping the kids with these types of questions. 
  • For a breakdown of the number of questions in each category and sample questions, click here to view the full presentation. 
  • The 5th grade writing test will no longer be used, as this test will include a writing assessment. 
  • Through the GA Dept of Education, children will be able to practice the test at home, using the Online Assessment System
  • Teachers have not seen the test yet. The sample questions they have seen have not included any sample/example answers for kids to read. If you look at some of the questions, you can see where this could be a problem. 
  • The test is a timed test; students will have to be efficient with their answering. 
  • In the new test, they’ll have to compare two passages of text and determine the differences, similarities, common themes, etc and answer questions about them. This is different (harder) than previous tests and this portion will last 2 days, which is longer than they’ve had for previous writing tests. 
  • It is not known if the state has piloted the test to determine the appropriate answer times. 
  • This new test is what Georgia is using instead of the National Common Core test. 
  • Huntley Hills has monthly STEM days with math and science being obvious components, but they also work in social studies and writing. Students have to write about the projects they are doing and how and why they are important to society, history, etc. 
  • The school has also been really working on incorporating writing into learning math. 
  • For math, they will have to explain the obvious (ex. why is 1/2 larger than 1/3); “because it’s bigger” is not an acceptable answer. They will have to draw a chart and/or explain an example in complete sentences. 
  • The rigor for all the subjects has increased. 
  • Vocabulary is key; the more words they know and understand, the easier it will be to write out explanations. 
  • The test is designed to create a more college and career ready students. 
  • The CRCT (previous test GA used) was based on the Georgia Performance Standards; the new test is based on Common Core; national norm referenced questions are included. 
  • This year they will use a “cut score” – which means it will be graded on a curve and the results will determine the baseline. 
  • A schools’ CCRIP score (College and Career Ready Performance Index) will be tied to this test; it is unclear how that will be “graded” this year. 
  • The online test (referred to as the “technology enhanced” exam) was tested by the state a couple of weeks ago. They had a select number of students throughout Georgia all take the test online at the same time. Huntely Hills had 30 students pilot it (out of almost 500) and the entire system crashed state-wide. 
  • The state was initially hoping to have 30% of students take it online this year; now it will only be ESOL, special needs students and students with ‘read aloud accommodations’. 
  • In 5 years, that state want 100% of students to take the test online. 
  • Teachers have already started using the computers everyday in class; parents need to encourage children to use computers at home. 
  • For example, the students will have to use the computer to shade in the appropriate number of pizza slices in a factions question; if they don’t already know how to do that quickly on a computer, they can’t possibly get the question correct.
Tips for Parents:
  • If kids are journaling, try having them try it on a computer.
  • When doing math homework, have them explain and write the answer in complete sentences (ex. do not answer just “20” but rather “20 apples are left in the bucket now because there were 30 and 10 were removed”).
  • Read text and stories multiple times and look for different things each time: who are main characters, where is the story located, how are people feeling, what are the differences between the characters.
  • Encourage your child write more, every chance they have. They will likely fight you on it but keep trying; have them read what they’ve written aloud; they can catch their own errors and learn to proof read on their own.
  • A good strategy to teach them is to read the directions, then read the questions to find out what is expected of them, then read the actual passage(s).
  • Assessment Guides are available for each grade and include sample questions/answers. Click here.
  • For additional information, click here.
Parents were all very thankful to the Huntley Hills Principal, Dr. Mia Ford, and all of the wonderful, dedicated teachers who took the time to have this meeting and who work hard every day to make sure every child at the school receives the best education possible. 

January 27, 2015

5th Annual ​Healthy Lifestyle Family Fair

January 31, 10 - 2
Chamblee Middle School Gymnasium

FREE Jason's Deli kids meal to the 1st 100 kids through the door!!

Come visit with OUR local support for a healthier lifestyle. Our neighborhood is full of organizations and businesses that want to see our school communities become healthier. You can expect to see sport and exercise opportunities for children and adults, games with prizes, non toxic body and home care, nutritional support, work out advice, door prizes, even information of community groups.
Please invite your neighbors; this event is open to the public as free resource.

Together, we’re making the Chamblee and Brookhaven communities a healthier place to grow up!

“…you cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the community and of society.” Dr. Adams
Why not make 2015 your family’s healthiest year yet?

Please email Lisa@optiMOMcoaching.com with any questions.