Bibb Schools offer opt-out option for Georgia Milestones
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Students in Bibb County started their Georgia Milestones tests Thursday. Senate Bill 355 would give students the option to not have to take the state mandated tests.
The Bibb County School District has new guidelines for dealing with students who may refuse to take a state mandated test.
“In past practices across the state, the child would go into the classroom and sit and stare, basically,” explained the Bibb County School District’s Director of Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability, Tony Jones.
School leaders want to make the best use of that potential learning time.
“We would move them to an instructional area of the school and they would be given academic work,” said Jones.
Georgia doesn’t allow students to opt-out of state tests, but that could change soon. Under SB 355, students would be able to opt-out for two reasons.
“One, they have a grave medical condition or two, they have a licensed therapist or a licensed physician has a treatment plan and they’ve written a letter and explained the plan,” explained Jones.
Bibb schools already follow this regulation. It was put in place for this Georgia Milestones testing period.
“The bill has passed both houses. We have actually had conversation in preparation for Senate Bill 355. This puts us in line if the governor does sign it in the next few weeks,” said Jones.
Since the bill isn’t law yet, if students don’t take the milestones and they’re in third, fifth or eighth grade, they can’t move on to the next grade.
“If they miss the first round of testing, there’s a makeup round of testing. If they miss that makeup round of testing, then they would be retained. Once they’re retained, then they can appeal to the local school [board],” explained Jones.
This year, the Bibb County School District is giving students the opportunity to go to summer school if they miss both rounds of testing instead of immediately being held back.
District leaders want every student to take the test because they believe it gives important feedback and lets the students know where they stand academically.
“Our teachers are teaching to the state curriculum and the tests are really a measurement of how effective our teachers taught the standards and the curriculum,” said Jones.
Governor Nathan Deal has until May 3 to either sign the bill into law, veto it, or do nothing in which case SB 355 automatically becomes law.