The assessment of students in DeKalb County Schools and the state of Georgia is mandated by law (see Official Code of Georgia [OCGA] § 20-2-281). The purpose of state-mandated assessment is to allow the public, legislators, parents, and other interested persons to see how well students in DeKalb County and Georgia are learning as compared to other students in the state and in the nation. The assessment program also provides principals and teachers with diagnostic information and assists the schools and system in identifying strengths and weaknesses in order to establish priorities in planning improvements for educational programs.
Two types of standardized assessments provide information about how well students are learning:
- Criterion-referenced assessments measure student acquisition of the skills and knowledge in mastering a specific set of curriculum standards, such as the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE). Georgia’s GSE are required standards that must be taught to all public school students in DeKalb County and the state of Georgia. The Georgia Milestones End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) are examples of criterion-referenced tests.
- Norm-referenced assessments give information about how well students in DeKalb County and Georgia are performing compared to other groups of students who are about the same age and in the same grade in schools across the nation. Information on norm-referenced assessments is based on general standards that would be found in all major subject areas across the United States. The DeKalb County School District will administer the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) as its norm-referenced assessment beginning the 2016-2017 school year for grades K-10.