Earlier today, the Cobb County School District received notification from the Georgia Department of Education that Georgia’s IADA (Alternative Assessment) application had been approved and that 3 assessment models would be used concurrently across the state for the next 5 years. As you may know, Cobb’s alternative assessment model (Cobb Metrics) was part of that application. The U.S. Department of Education has not approved Cobb’s model at this time and has asked Cobb for further clarification on a number of items, specifically items related to psychometric alignment. Cobb is able to clarify those items and participate in the 5-year window if the District elects to do so.
As referenced in the response letter from the U.S. Department of Education to the State of Georgia, “…may choose to address the areas identified and request reconsideration to include this assessment model in the IADA…”.
However, the District is currently reconsidering its interest in participating further. For at least the 2019-2020 school year, the students of Cobb County will continue to take the Georgia Milestones. The District has been, and continues to be, concerned about the implications of multiple assessment models being used across the state at the same time. The risk of over-testing Cobb students is considerable if multiple models have to be compared to each other and, in Cobb, we believe students are already tested more than is useful for instruction. The District is unsure that moving forward in this process would be the best choice for our students and our teachers.
Cobb is committed to assessment that helps teachers understand students in real-time and helps students learn what they don’t already know. Said simply, the District believes assessment can and should be an important part of instruction and that traditional standardized testing doesn’t always help a student learn.
Making assessments better for students is complicated and hard work and, the District believes, demands a single statewide vision. The decision to use three completely different models simultaneously could have negative consequences for our schools and our students. We will continue to make assessment better for the students of Cobb County and look forward to a time in the near future when Georgia has one, single vision for better assessment.