There was some good news for the local school system recently that should be an encouraging sign for area teachers, administrators and students.

Students who were tested in last year’s Georgia Milestones assessments showed strong gains in their scores in many subjects and grade levels. The tests are comprised of mostly open-ended questions to gauge a child’s true understanding of a subject instead of a barrage of multiple-choice questions that leave the door open for guessing.

One of the highlights this year was Glynn County’s eighth through 12th-grade students who administrators said did very well on end-of-course tests, which are the middle and high school versions of the assessments. The scores in those grade levels placed Glynn County among the top 50 performers in the state in every subject. That is impressive considering there are 181 school systems in the state.

“Our teachers are really putting in a lot of effort at the high schools,” said Valerie Whitehead, executive director of strategy and innovation for Glynn County Schools.

She is right about that effort at all levels, and it shows. In third through eighth grades, local students scored above other students in the first district Regional Educational Service Agency, which includes most of Southeast Georgia, and the rest of the state in most subjects.

While students across the state and nation often seem to spend far too much time focusing on how to do well on standardized testing instead of on truly mastering a subject, the milestones testing is supposed to be designed to gauge a student’s true mastery of content. In other words, doing well on these tests means our local students are truly learning and not just spending the year preparing for a test.

These results show us that the efforts put in over the past decade focused on continual improvement in all areas is working. Our teachers and administrators are motivating students and successfully reaching them on a large scale. They should be commended for it.

There are still areas that could use some work. Whitehead pointed to new science standards to which teachers are still adjusting, but we are confident they will be successful in that subject as well.

We hope teachers and students take the recent results and build on them in what will be another great year at Glynn County Schools.

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