Thursday November 26th, 2015 11:40PM

Georgia mulling company to develop statewide exam

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia officials facing a short timeline to replace the statewide student test could take a major step on Thursday.

Members of the state Board of Education may recommend that the state hire an unnamed company to develop the new test at their monthly meeting in Atlanta. The proposal would make some sweeping changes to statewide testing in Georgia, making the tests more difficult and moving all testing online within five years.

State officials said procurement laws in Georgia prevent them from naming the company until the Department of Administrative Services publishes the award and other bidders have a chance to respond. The cost also won't be revealed until that time.

The state committed to rolling out a new test during the 2014-15 school year in return for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind act. Pressure to meet that deadline increased in July when Georgia dropped out a multi-state consortium that is building a test to meet the rigid standards of Common Core.

State officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal and State School Superintendent John Barge, said then that Georgia could find a more affordable rate than the consortium's predicted cost of $29.50 per student tested.

Melissa Fincher, director of testing for the Department of Education, said the tight timeline to build a new test isn't ideal but added that the state isn't starting from scratch.

Dana Rickman, policy and research director for advocacy nonprofit the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, said getting the exam right is essential to every piece of education reform underway in the state. Student performance is based on statewide testing and is central to new teacher evaluation standards and judging the success of Common Core's curriculum changes, she said.

``We're moving into an area of greater transparency and accountability, but all of that is based on the assessment,'' Rickman said.

The state's budget for the coming year include an additional $8 million for testing students, bringing the total pot of money for testing to around $23 million, Fincher said. That also must pay for other exams.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Big balloons, heavy security for NYC Thanksgiving parade; St. Louis parade resumes
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans paused Thursday to celebrate their blessings despite terrorism fears and racial tensions over fatal police shootings across the country. A record number of police officers pa...
7:58PM ( 3 hours ago )
Shopping small, holiday spending on the rise
A local economist is encouraging holiday shoppers to take advantage of Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday.
5:51PM ( 5 hours ago )
Community groups provide Thanksgiving meals to residents in need
GAINESVILLE - Local organizations provide Thanksgiving meals, clothes and care packages to residents in need.
12:37PM ( 11 hours ago )
NE Ga.'s jobless rate drops to 5.4% for Oct.
The jobless rate for the Northeast Georgia region ticked down a bit in October, while the Gainesville metro remained flat, according to numbers released Thursday morning by the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL).
By AccessWDUN staff
8:00AM ( 15 hours ago )