The State Board of Education (SBOE) met Thursday, Nov. 19, for its monthly meeting. Board actions at the meeting include:
Approval to post a proposal to lower EOC testing weights to .01 percent of a high school students’ final grade for public comment. In October, the board approved posting a rule to lower the weight to 10 percent of the final grade. This measure was amended during the November meeting.
The board's decision on the testing weight is preliminary. The rule will be posted for public comment for 30 days, and the SBOE will vote on its approval at a called December meeting. PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper spoke in favor of lowering the EOC weight to .01 percent, asking board members to consider compassion over compliance during a school year that has presented tremendous challenges for students and educators. Harper’s comments echo those made in a letter sent by PAGE to each SBOE member. This letter is available HERE. Thank you to all PAGE members that contacted the SBOE to share your concerns. Your advocacy mattered on this issue. Other speakers in favor of the .01 percent weight included a district representative, administrator, teacher, and parent from Cobb County and Brian Sirmans, a teacher from Lanier County who also is the chairperson of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The meeting agenda is available HERE and a video of the meeting is available HERE.
SBOE Approves Amended Proposal to Lower Weights of EOC Test on Final Grades of High School Students
After a lengthy discussion during a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 19 and at the full SBOE meeting on Thursday, Nov. 20, the SBOE adopted a proposal to lower the weights of End of Course (EOC) tests on the final grades of high school students to .01 percent. The rule will be posted for public comment for 30 days and a vote on its adoption will occur in December.
At its October meeting, the SBOE voted to lower the weights to 10 percent of a student’s final grade. During the subsequent 30-day public comment period, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) issued a survey about the measure to which 93,000 people responded. 86 percent of respondents supported lowering the weight to .01 percent.
Based on these survey results and other feedback received during the public comment period, SBOE member Martha Zoller offered an amendment to the rule reverting back to the .01 percent weight originally proposed by State School Superintendent Richard Woods in October. Language was added to make it clear that .01 percent is the floor at which districts must count EOC scores in final grades of high school students. Districts can increase the percentage as they see fit. While some districts will have completed EOC testing before final approval of the rule, GaDOE staff ensured the board that districts can recalculate student grades after the vote is taken.
The vote count on the proposal to lower EOC weights to .01 percent is below. The vote was on posting the proposal for public comment, not for final approval of the assessment changes:
Mike Long – Yes
David “Butch” Mosely – Yes
Helen Odom Rice – Yes
Lisa Kinnemore – Yes
Scott Sweeney – Yes
Mike Royal – No
Jason Downey – Yes
Martha Zoller – Yes
Lee Anne Cowart – Yes
Scott Johnson – No
Trey Allen – No
Leonte Benton – Yes
Phenna Petty – Yes
For more information about the arguments from each side of this issue, review PAGE’s SBOE report from October HERE.