All On Georgia previously reported the origin of a bill to allow parents the right for allowing their child to take paper-pencil based tests as an alternative to online state testing. The GA Department of Education is moving to have all students take their tests online by 2018. However,  in the last two years, technical problems have continued to plague the administration of the state’s mandated test called the Georgia Milestones, which replaced the CRCT and EOCT in their respective grade levels.

In the last two years, the Milestones has been riddled with technical problems and caused State School Superintendent Richard Woods to negotiate the entire $100 plus million dollar contract in 2015. During this time, grade promotion and retention policies for school districts have been waived due to problems associated with the testing administration.

HB 425, filed by Representative Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson), passed last night by the House of Representatives with a vote of 151-18. The bill allows parents the option for a paper-pencil test, regardless of the student’s educational status. Currently, some school districts only allow students with a documented disability to take high-stakes tests via paper-pencil, but the GA Department of Education’s goal is to have all tests administered online. The bill further asks for the State School Superintendent to provide guidance to schools about eliminating “sit-and-stare” policies during testing which shall not accompany any punitive action on the students who do not participate.

The bill does not allow for complete opt-out of testing, but only the request of paper-pencil formats or approved alternative forms.

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