Most people agree that testing of any kind is not the most exciting experience. When testing is required and necessary for students, schools must work to try and provide the most pleasant environment available. That means being organized, available, and prepared. State testing is a requirement for public schools across the country. According to the Georgia Department of Education website, the purpose of the Georgia Student Assessment Program is to “measure student achievement of the state-adopted content standards and inform efforts to improve teaching and learning.” Georgia Cyber Academy, a high-quality public school program that offers the innovative use of technology, is no exception. With a school enrollment of nearly 15,000 students, managing the testing season can be an enormous task; however, the staff at GCA works together to offer the most stress-free, organized testing experience possible. So, how does it all come together?
Preparations for testing at GCA take place all year long. There are 60 physical testing sites available for GCA students across the state of Georgia. The school works tirelessly to help families have the closest access to their home, but students are required to take the test at an assigned location. Teachers and staff members works as small site teams to communicate with families. The school works with families to make sure they have the correct testing information such as required tests, testing location, test times, and other procedural information using email, personal phone calls, texting, websites, and a program called Testing Nirvana. Students have multiple ways to access testing information and are encouraged to ask their teachers questions prior to testing time.
Certified teachers at GCA administer the tests while all staff members are involved and “hands on” with the process. Teachers go through extensive testing training prior to the tests to make sure all state guidelines are met. The tests that are administered to students include the Georgia Milestones for students in grades 3-8 and End-of-Course (EOC) tests for high school students. Most importantly, the staff works to make the testing period as positive as possible. Matt Arkin, Georgia Cyber Academy’s Head of School explains, “At GCA we’re fortunate to get 175 days of flexibility and individualization in return for 5 days of complete inflexibility.” Students at GCA know they are more than just a number. They also deserve the best testing environment possible, and Georgia Cyber Academy goes above and beyond to ensure that happens for everyone.