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Hundreds of missing test results hold up final grades for some in Hall
Gainesville city schools largely unaffected by state delay
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Some Hall County high school students don’t have final grades because the end-of-course exams that are 20 percent of their grades are not back from the state Department of Education.

The county schools are missing 2,500 to 3,000 high school test results, Kevin Bales, director of middle and secondary education for the county, said Tuesday.

Bales said, “hundreds and hundreds” when asked how many test results are not back.

The state Department of Education issued a statement from state superintendent Richard Woods on May 27 apologizing for the delay and saying the delay “could be up to one week.”

Bales noted that the week delay would be up Friday. He said he would wait and see if the results are back. The results have been “coming in piecemeal,” Bales said.

He said Hall County had “over 900 scores for ninth-grade lit” that were not returned to the county.

Results for analytic geometry, American literature and coordinate geometry also were missing, Bales said.

On the other hand, Gainesville city schools have almost no problems, Shea Ray, director of data & student assessment, said Tuesday.

She said by email that Gainesville High School was missing one test result for one student.

The state’s schools had a three-week window to give the Milestones and end-of-course exams. The state DOE said it would get the results back to the school systems “within 10 working days” of when the tests were received.

Georgia has been moving its standardized tests to online, and all end-of-course tests were administered online, Bales and Ray said.

Ray said a reason it might have gotten results back was because its end-of-course tests were given early in the testing period, which was in April.

Test results should have been back to the systems by about May 12.

“Like schools and parents, we are greatly disappointed, as we planned and worked with our testing contractor to deliver a two-week turnaround,” Woods said in the statement.

“That obviously did not happen for many districts, so we will be conducting a thorough review as soon as possible to address these issues and streamline the process.”

Even if the test results are back by Friday, it would be 15 to 20 days after the state had said they would be available, Bales said.

“We’re holding final grades on these end-of-course (tests) that we’re missing,” Bales said. “We have teachers that are going to come back in and post (grades).”

The major problem, Bales said, is that the missing results are likely to affect some students’ “final GPA,” and that could affect whether or not the students receive the HOPE scholarship for the fall.

“We have some GPAs that are going to change for some seniors in the summer,” Bales said.

He said the grade posting likely would be “a full day” of work for teachers. The teachers’ last day was Tuesday, and many of them finished Friday, the same day Woods issued his statement.

“It’s late in the game — and now we’re talking late in the game as after school (is out),” Bales said.

Final grades were not a problem for Gainesville, Ray said. She added the city expected to mail the final report cards this week — as usual.

Bales said the county system has heard from a number of surrounding systems that also are waiting for results.

He noted Hall County is not alone, but he added the waiting remains frustrating. The county system is checking for results twice daily — first thing in the morning and about mid-day.

The missing results likely would be for one or two courses, he noted, but that delays a student’s final report.

He also said a different problem — mostly with technical issues — caused delays in the end-of-course tests. “That caused us to be in a bind with re-testing,” he said. The county system decided to retest only for two schools — Lyman Hall and White Sulphur elementary schools.

Gainesville city decided not to retest its students. Ray noted the system would not have known all of the students who could be re-tested and decided it was not fair to re-test some and not others.

“We’re in the heat of the mess right now,” Bales said — explaining Hall County officials will have great interest, and opinions, about how to avoid similar situations.

Matt Cardoza, with the state DOE, said a review of the problems will occur.

“It’s a policy discussion, which we’ve already started (not formally). It would be our plan to have finalized discussions/reviews done in time to have changes for next school year, but it’s early in the process and we’re still closing out this year’s results,” he said.