Carroll County Schools Test Scores Continue to Outperform the State

Jul 22 2019

Carroll County students not only scored substantially above the state average in almost every area in the Georgia Milestone Assessment System (GMAS) scores released last week, but they also tested above the district’s scores from last year. The recent outstanding test results show a continuous pattern of academic success for students in Carroll County, which is attributed to the system’s long-term focus on literacy, Math, and STEM instruction.

Dr. Jessica Ainsworth, Assistant Superintendent of School Performance, along with Teaching & Learning Directors Dr. Travis Thomas, Dr. Marrisa Ogando, and Jennifer Shirley, presented the testing results to the Board of Education at its July 15th meeting. The presentation included an explanation of the upward trend at all grade levels, as well as the improvement with the district’s graduation rate. 

Carroll County elementary schools outperformed the state on the End of Grade Assessments in all areas and showed improvement over last year in seven out of the eight areas tested.  Significant gains were shown with a 16% increase in 5th grade ELA and a 16% increase in 5th grade Science scores. There were also exceptional gains made in students moving from the Proficient to the Distinguished category. Grade level comparisons show a 53% increase in students performing at the Distinguished level in 4th grade ELA and 21% in 5th grade Science. Since 2015, the district has experienced double-digit growth on the GMAS in ELA, Math, and Science system wide. 

Middle School performance saw a dramatic improvement this year, with 100% of middle school  areas tested performing significantly above last year’s district scores and well above the current state average. Sixth grade ELA saw a 19% improvement over the previous year, while the 6th and 7th grade Math scores had a 16% increase over 2018. Like the district’s elementary schools, Carroll County middle schools also saw improvement in students moving from the Proficient to the Distinguished category at all grades. Scores show an 83% increase in students performing at the Distinguished level in 8th grade Math, 67% in 6th grade ELA, 50% in 8th grade Science, and 33% in 6th grade Math.

There were also considerable improvements over last year’s Milestone scores in high school Geometry (7%) and 9th grade Literature (12%) End of Course tests. Since initiation of Georgia Milestones End of Course testing in 2015, Carroll County high schools have seen a 29% increase in 9th grade Literature, a 16% increase in American Literature, 15% growth in Geometry,  and a 13% increase in Biology. District high schools saw improvement in students moving from the Proficient to the Distinguished category, too. There was a 125% increase in students performing at the Distinguished level in 9th grade Literature, a 33% increase for Economics and US History, as well as an 18% increase in American Literature.

“The high performance on the Georgia Milestones is reflective of the tremendous efforts of our teachers, support staff, and administrators who are focused on providing each student with quality instruction and engaging learning environments,” said Dr. Ainsworth. “We are pleased to see such positive results and commend our students and staff for their hard work.”

For the second year in a row, Carroll County Schools has a graduation rate of over 90%, which is a 24% increase since 2011. This is exceptional for a district with multiple high schools. In 2018, Carroll County’s graduation rate ranked second in the state for districts with five or more high schools. At the individual high school level, Mt. Zion High School had the highest graduation rate in the district at 97% and was over 90% for the fifth consecutive year. The district continues to see a rise in the number of students choosing dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses with over 1,300 students taking advantage of these opportunities last year.

Carroll County School leaders contributed much of this success to the emphasis on literacy, Math, and STEM education. District leaders and teachers recognize how this type of 21st century learning approach benefits each and every student. Currently, Carroll County Schools has 9 district STEM certified schools, 4 nationally STEM certified schools, and 1 internationally STEM certified school.  Whitesburg Elementary is the only school in the nation to be nationally and internationally certified. Also, Carroll County is one of only three districts in Georgia to have its own district STEM certification process and the only system in Georgia with a district STEAM certification process.

Superintendent Scott Cowart added, “Seeing such significant and widespread growth on the Georgia Milestones as well as the increase in students earning college credit while attending high school is further evidence of our entire team’s commitment to positively changing lives.  Our schools and students continue to be recognized for increasing performance because of the premier work of our teachers, leaders, and support staff. We look forward to the upcoming year and are excited to see our students continue to meet and exceed expectations.”

Detailed individual student reports for End of Grade and End of Course tests were sent home to parents in May. More information about GMAS and state-wide scores can be accessed at www.gadoe.org.