Recently released results from the annual Georgia Milestones assessment show the percentage of Paulding County students scoring at Developing Learner level or better topped the percentage of students scoring at the same levels statewide in 22 of 24 subject areas.

Additionally, the percentage of Paulding County students scoring at the higher 3 and 4 levels topped the statewide percentage in 19 of 24 subject areas.

Superintendent Brian Otott said the results were “very encouraging.”

“I am pleased that our students are well above the state averages in most subject areas, but even more important is that we continue to show improvement year over year."

The four achievement levels on Georgia Milestones are 1, Beginning Learner; 2, Developing Learner; 3, Proficient Learner; and 4, Distinguished Learner, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

Proficient Learners “demonstrate proficiency” and Distinguished Learners “demonstrate advanced proficiency” in the “knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level or course of learning as specified in Georgia's content standards.”

They also “are prepared for the next grade level or course and are on track for college and career readiness,” according to the education department.

The data show that Paulding students outperformed the state at multiple grade levels on both elementary and middle school end-of-grade tests and high school end-of-course assessments for the 2018-2019 school year.

The percentage of Paulding students achieving levels 2, 3 and 4 beat the statewide average on every end-of-grade assessment at every grade level (16 out of 16), and at the higher 3 and 4 levels surpassed the state percentage in 15 out of 16 end-of-grade assessments.

High school students, meanwhile, beat or equaled the state percentage by attaining levels 2, 3 and 4 on end-of-course tests in seven out of eight subjects.

In comparison to the 2018 end-of-grade assessments for the higher 3 and 4 levels, elementary and middle school scores in English language arts improved at all grade levels, in math at five of seven grade levels, and also improved at both grade levels tested for social studies.

On the end-of-course tests, high school students showed improvement compared to 2018 in six of the eight subjects for levels 2, 3 and 4, and five of the eight subjects for the higher 3 and 4 levels.

Literacy is a major academic focus in the Paulding County School District as evidenced by the district’s ongoing Literacy By Design initiative.

It is also a critical component of the state’s English language arts components.

The most recent Milestones results show Paulding County students are beating the state average for reading “at or above grade level” in all grades and courses assessed by the Milestones system.

“Our district-wide literacy focus is starting to show real results and we want to sustain that momentum throughout this coming school year,” Otott said.

He said the district also wants to "address the science component of the Milestones by exposing a broader range of students to science and STEM-related subjects."

“We have new STEM-related initiatives in our elementary and middle schools this year, and a new computer science magnet program opening at Hiram High School in 2020 that we believe will spark even more interest," Otott said.

“I am confident we will see those areas beginning to grow very soon,” he said

However, he said “we need to keep pushing toward our goal of academic excellence.”

“If we stay focused as a district on engaging, inspiring and preparing all students for success, I am optimistic that we can get there,” Otott said.

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