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State waiver on Milestones tests wont affect local schools procedures
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Hall County and Gainesville school district officials expect no changes in their procedure to promote students to the next grade level following Milestones testing interruptions in some parts of the state.

The state Department of Education waived promotion, placement and retention requirements related to the tests because of “technology-related interruptions of online testing.”

Hall County officials said the online testing was done with little or no problems.

Gainesville schools did delay the science portion of the test in the elementary schools for two days, but the testing was done April 25 “with little to no test platform interruptions,” Shea Ray, director of data and student assessment, said by email.

Ray added that testing for English/language arts, math and social studies were done with no problems.

“All of our testing was complete within our original test window,” Ray said.

Both local systems said they use combinations of principal, parent and teacher recommendations when considering students’ status.

Will Schofield, Hall County superintendent, said, “no change” will be made locally because of the waiver.

“We will continue to make those important decisions at all grades with parent, teacher and administrator input.”

Sarah Bell, chief academic officer for Gainesville, said, “we have always assessed a variety of data points in making promotion and retention decisions, so we will continue to utilize these to consider each situation on an individual basis.”

The state department said some of the technology problems were resolved quickly but others required more extensive support.

“The GaDOE believes that further analysis of the possible impacts of these interruptions is warranted prior to the release of student scores, given the stakes involved for students,” the press release said.

“We believe it is best to proceed with caution when it comes to basing promotion, placement and retention on the outcome of the tests,” Richard Woods, state school superintendent, said.