Around this time of year, I receive a lot of phone calls from anxious parents who want to register their child for tutoring. After explaining the services we offer, pricing, and how their child can benefit from our program, the parent asks, “Can you help my child pass the GA Milestones? He/She is in the 3rd/5th grade, and I don’t want my child to fail.
My answer is and will always be, “No! I’m sorry. I can’t help your child pass the GA Milestones Assessment, but I can help them access the curriculum.” And then, there is always an awkward silence…
According to the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Milestones Assessment measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state-adopted content standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies for their grade level. If your child has a deficit in any subject area, especially reading and math, and is performing below grade level, the likelihood that they will be ready to be assessed on grade level is slim.
You can’t prepare a child for an assessment, but you can prepare them to access the curriculum.
Every time a parent calls and asks me to prepare their child for an assessment, I remind them that focusing on testing goes against everything my company stands for. Our focus is not testing, our focus is on identifying the child’s deficit, meeting them where they are academically, teaching them on their level, and empowering the parents with the strategies and tools they need so that they can implement them at home.
Parents, if you’re reading this, I want you to rest and remember that a test will not change the trajectory of your child’s future. Tests are used to collect data to show how your child is performing, and that data helps a teacher create a plan to help your child access the curriculum.
I also want you to remember that:
Preparation doesn’t happen overnight. There is no way that someone can prepare your child for an assessment in two or three months. Depending on the severity of the deficit, it could potentially take several months to a year to get them on grade level. Don’t get your child help because you want them to pass a test. Get them the assistance they need so that they will be academically ready and able to access the curriculum.
Be Proactive. If your child is having difficulty in school, set up a meeting with your child’s teacher. See how you can work together to set up a plan to make sure your child is successful during the school year. Review the parent portal for grades, come to every parent-teacher conference, and check in once a month with your child’s teacher to discuss his/her progress. If your child is having difficulty, your child’s teacher should have given you feedback within the first 9 weeks of school and then created a plan for success. Once you receive feedback, utilize the free programs at your child’s school and/or hire a tutor that can assist your child.
One test does not determine if your child will be retained. Parents, research! Research! Research! A test should not be used for punishment or a scare tactic for promotion or retention. If your child does not pass the GA Milestones, there are options. You can appeal. Please follow this link and read.
Opt-out. Did you know that you can opt out of testing? Every district is different, so please check with your building principal and the Board of Education. Make sure you do your research beforehand.
I have linked a sample assessment guide for the GA Milestones that can be found on the GA Department of Education’s website as well a guide for testing results.