The State Board of Education has reversed itself and voted to support Georgia School Superintendent’s proposal for a 0.01% course grade weight for Georgia Milestones exams.

The effect of the decision is that year-end standardized tests for Georgia public schools, though still required, may count for almost nothing in a student’s final grade, pending a final vote by the board in December.

In October, state Superintendent Richard Woods proposed to the state school board that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, End-of-Course Milestones tests should be weighted at 0.01% of a student’s final grade — not the normal 20% weight --for the 2020-21 school year.

At the time, the board rejected that plan and suggested instead a 10% weight. A public survey period took place, and the results showed that a majority of respondents supported the original .01% proposal, and so the 10% recommendation was revoked.

The survey was open from Oct. 2 to Nov. 17, and approximately 93,000 people responded. The overwhelming majority, 86.31%, said the weight should be .01%. Of the other two options presented in the survey, 11.35% said the weight should be 10%, and only 2.34% said it should be 20%.

In previously issued statements, superintendents for both the Carrollton and Carroll County school systems have voiced support for the state superintendent’s efforts in lowering the effects of high-stakes testing during this tumultuous school year.

An opportunity for public comment on the 0.01% proposal will be announced by the end of today, Nov. 20, and a vote from the board will take place in December. This vote, according to the Georgia Department of Education, does not need to take place before a student takes the tests.

If the December vote does approve a .01% weight in, districts may recalculate course grades for students who have already tested.

Testing calendars from Carroll County School System show that for the winter EOC exams, the main administration will take place before the state board of education’s vote takes place; from Dec. 7 through Dec. 18.

At Carrollton City Schools, however, the start of the 2020-21 school year was delayed due to the COVID-10 pandemic, so the start of the second semester was pushed to Jan. 25, 2021.

This means that students in the city school system will be taking their winter EOC exams in January, after the state board vote, and with the knowledge of how those tests will affect their grade.

“As we await a final decision from the state, we are confident our students will perform well no matter what percentage weight is assigned to the EOC,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus. “Our first and foremost goal is to teach and support our students to fidelity in preparation for success in all subject areas, no matter what testing mandates dictate.