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Nearly two dozen Georgia school districts want to replace the use of state’s standardized test with their own district testing.

Twenty-two school districts petitioned the state board and want to be able to conduct their own homegrown testing to replace the Georgia Milestones test, according to a WSB-TV report.

Under a new state law passed this year, Senate Bill 362, school districts want to use the provision of “innovative tests” to implement their own after years of Milestones testing implementation and associated costs.

The new federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act, signed in 2015, also encourages states to create their own innovative tests to support instructional programs at the local level.

Many school districts are not able to utilize the Georgia Milestones test as a real-time instructional tool to help students improve throughout the year.

Several school districts throughout the state have already created or have contracted out testing services to take advantage of the state’s new laws ( SB 362).

Cobb County Schools use their own test called Cobb Metrics. Newton County Schools are planning to use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Elected State School Superintendent Richard Woods has been instrumental in changing the conversation on testing since taking office in 2014.  Woods regularly called the Georgia Milestones test an “autopsy report” as schools do not get the data needed to improve instruction while the students are in the classroom learning.

The federal government still requires some form of statewide accountability system for each state where Georgia’s accountability system for its schools and educators to heavily rely on the Georgia Milestones Test.

Supporters of these tests, like the Milestones, say that it is important to continue such tests as it gives the state and feds data needed to review how districts perform each year under state and federal law.

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