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Cherokee Charter Academy’s Milestone test scores show gains in most subject areas, with some room for improvement.

Every spring, schools administer state end-of-grade tests to students in grades 3-8 in English and math, with science and social studies tests in fifth and eighth grade. High school students, and middle school students in high school courses, take end-of-course tests in select subjects including math and science courses, U.S. history and economics.

Percentages of students scoring in the top two levels of achievement, those considered on track and ready for the next grade level or course — Proficient to Distinguished — increased in 13 and decreased in five out of 18 of the state exams from last year. Cherokee Charter enrolls students in first through eighth grade, and eighth-graders there can take some high school courses that are among the Georgia Milestones end-of-course exams. Eighteen exams that CCA students took were reported by the state; other exams were either for courses students didn’t take or there were too few students to report.

The largest gains in this area were in sixth grade English Language Arts, which saw the proportion of students scoring Proficient and above go up 22 points to 65%, and in eighth grade social studies that percentage went up 17 points, to 55%.

Math scores earning Proficient and above for fourth grade were down by 17 percentage points, to 46%.

Though the eighth grade was the smallest class of test-takers in the spring, those that took high school level end-of-course exams saw improvements from the students that took them last year; the proportion of Physical Science exam takers scoring Proficient and above increased by 42 percentage points to 63%, and the percentage of Proficient and above in Ninth Grade Literature went up 19 points, to 100%. In Algebra, 88% of students were in the Proficient and above range; the number of Algebra exam-takers last year was too small to report percentages.

Cherokee Charter exceeded state average scores in nine of the 18 tests reported, and according to CCA, the school exceeded averages of school districts in its attendance zone in 13 tests. Last year, the school expanded its attendance area to include Bartow, Cobb and Pickens Counties-accepting students served by Cherokee County School District, Bartow County School System, Cartersville City Schools, Pickens County Schools, Marietta City Schools, and Cobb County School District.

“Our End of Course scores in algebra I, physical science and ninth grade literature exceeded both state and our attendance zone average. In fact, 100 percent of students passed the ninth grade literature EOC,” said Principal April Wallis in a statement through a spokesperson. “Overall, we exceeded our attendance zone average in nine areas and we exceeded the state in 13 areas. Our elementary math is an area of growth where we are working to improve those scores through our new education model that allows for more data-driven differentiation in that area.”

GaDOE reported strong gains statewide, with scores increasing or holding steady on 25 of 26 assessments – the strongest overall gains recorded in the Milestones’ five-year history. The percentage of students reading on grade level or above increased or held steady in every tested grade and both English language arts high school courses.

Students began taking Georgia Milestones assessments in 2014-15. This year, the assessment was administered 100% online for the first time (with the exception of students who require a paper/pencil test as an accommodation.)

For the full results and more information, visitbit.ly/2JUc1Ff.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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