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Class Notes: State to receive millions for testing technical problems
CTB/McGraw-Hill to pay Georgia for Milestones troubles
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Students, teachers and school administrators across the state experienced some frustration this spring due to Georgia Milestones testing technical errors.

CTB/McGraw-Hill, the test developer, will reimburse the state for these troubles with $4.5 million in services at no cost to the Georgia Department of Education, according to a release from the department.

The services include the assurance that future administrations of the test will not suffer the same issues, which included content errors, freezing and technical disruptions and delays. Many students who were given a screen reader accommodation were unable to use the tool.

Testing troubles were scattered across the state, according to a release from the state department. They were due in part to the test administration system’s inability to sync all student information across databases.

Approximately $2.64 million will be used to create and implement end-of-course assessments that serve the “discrete” or traditional math course options, which are once again approved by the state along with the “integrated” math courses.

This funding means the implementation of these tests will not cost Georgia taxpayers.

The funding will also include an independent analysis of the problems that took place this spring.

“Holding CTB/McGraw-Hill accountable for these issues was non-negotiable for us,” state Superintendent Richard Woods said. “The problems were not widespread, but for the students who were affected, that does not matter. It was essential that we ensure this never happens again.”

Piedmont partnering with Gainesville institute, providing new degree

Piedmont College is partnering with the Cardiovascular Technology Institute in Gainesville to offer the state’s first four-year bachelor degree program in cardiovascular technology, according to a news release. The Gainesville institute will provide faculty and instruction for the program.

The institute houses technologists and cardiologists who practice at The Heart Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

“CVT is one of the fastest growing fields in health care,” said Dr. Linda Scott, Dean of Piedmont’s R.H. Daniel School of Nursing & Health Sciences. “The need for cardiovascular technologists is expected to grow by almost 40 percent in the next decade alone. This joint program will give our graduates a definite advantage as they enter this exciting career field.”

The program is accepting students for the fall and is available at the college’s Demorest and Athens campuses.

Piedmont President James Mellichamp said he is looking forward to working with The Heart Center staff, many of whom will join the program as senior cardiovascular fellows.

“The Northeast Georgia Medical Center was recently named the No. 1 hospital in Georgia in five different areas, including cardiac and vascular surgery; and it is No. 2 in the nation for overall care,” he said. “That demonstrates to me the type of quality programs we will be able to provide by working together.”

UNG honors tourism pioneer Bill Hardman

A patriotic July celebration will honor one of Georgia’s leaders in tourism and growth.

The late Bill Hardman, Georgia's first tourism director and a key player in development of the Georgia World Congress Center, will be honored by the University of North Georgia at “A Patriotic Celebration” beginning at 6 p.m. July 3 at the Cottrell Ranch in Dahlonega.

Hardman, who lived in Dahlonega and died in 2013, began working as the state’s tourism director in 1959. In the ’70s, he helped facilitate a $30 million appropriation to construct the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. He was inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2002.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to pay tribute to Bill Hardman, whose leadership and vision for the tourism industry have made such a positive economic impact on this region and the state,” said UNG President Bonita Jacobs. “For more than 20 years, UNG has hosted the STS Marketing College, a certification program for tourism professionals that Bill began, and we are proud to help support the tourism industry.”

Funds raised at “A Patriotic Celebration” will go toward hospitality and tourism efforts in the Dahlonega region.

Tickets for the dinner and event are $60 each. Doors open at 6 p.m. and patriotic attire is encouraged. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Bobbi Larson at 706-864-1623 or at Tickets may also be purchased from

Kristen Oliver covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: