COVID-19 Changes Standardized Testing at McIntosh

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Georgia Department of Education

The Georgia Department of Education released a statement explaining how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed testing on a state level, with one of the most important changes being the cancellation of Milestone assessments.

Zack Stone, Staff Writer

As the COVID-19 pandemic has created a largely unknown future in the academic world, end of course testing has similarly felt the repercussions.

On the state level, the Georgia Department of Education recently announced that “All state-required spring testing windows, including GKIDS 2.0, GAA 2.0, Georgia Milestones EOG and EOC, and NAEP assessments, are cancelled.” All milestone classes across all grades will no longer sit for the state-mandated end of course test.

Perhaps an even more dramatic change was the recent national announcement by College Board that “traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place” and “students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home.” The College Board added that there will be multiple times for students to sit for these exams and that some of the final units for each course will not be covered on the test. More information about the specific procedures and methods will be announced on April 3.

These changes have been felt as sudden and confusing for McIntosh students and teachers alike.

“My biggest concern about the shortened AP exam is the unknown,” said AP Statistics teacher Ashley McAfee. “I have always known exactly what to tell my kids to expect. Now, I really do not know.”

While less scared for himself, senior Davis Roberson indicates that this change won’t affect all parties equally. “I am concerned that the AP tests won’t go as well, but many seniors have already decided on colleges,” said Roberson. “So it won’t have as much impact on us as it will for the juniors.

Despite these changes, McIntosh teachers maintain confidence in their students.

Brandon Kunz teaches AP US Government and Politics, AP Macroeconomics and Economics at McIntosh, all courses that typically end with either an AP exam or a Milestone assessment. However, despite the massive changes he is dealing with, he remains hopeful and confident. “I think my [AP] students will perform better on the exam than most,” said Kunz, “we are strong in writing and free response, and that is how it seems the test will be administered.”

Additionally, the cancellations and downsizing have been met with understanding.

McAfee, who does not currently teach a Milestone class but has many years of experience doing so, adds that “I think with everything unknown at this point, it was probably best to just cancel the milestones.”

Kunz also admits that, while an online, at-home Milestone may have been preferable, he “also recognize[s] the overwhelming disadvantage that many students would face.” Kunz continues, “we are very lucky at McIntosh to have digital access, wifi, strong parental involvement, and teachers who will go above and beyond to make this work. That is definitely not the case for many parts of our state.”

Despite the ramifications these cancellations and changes may have, there seems to be a consensus that there was a lack of other options.

“Ultimately,” said Roberson, “it’s sad that it’s come to this, but [the College Board] is making the right decision.”