• 2022-2023 GCPS Milestones Benchmark and District Assessment Grade Conversion Information 


    For the 2022-2023 school year, GCPS has embarked on the task of developing a common district assessment that can be utilized to report on a student’s mastery of the grade level standards and to predict student performance on the state Milestones Assessment.  The development of such Milestones Benchmarks will support schools in identifying students who have demonstrated proficiency on the standards that would likely result in a beginning, developing, proficient, or distinguished learner level on the Milestones.  Such information enables schools to identify students who need re-teaching of standards and concepts to address student learning needs. 

    For the 2022-2023 school year, these Benchmark assessments replaced the midyear assessments and Semester 1 finals for Milestones tested grades and courses. 

    Overview of the Analysis Process: 

    Several analyses are required to develop a valid and reliable assessment that reflects student mastery of the standards and is tightly aligned to the state assessment to provide predictive information.  Specifically, we will be engaging in test equating and linking calculations as well as grade conversions.  These processes are not the same as establishing a curve for a test and require more time to process than a curve. 

    The analyses we are conducting will examine data from the benchmark assessment to examine the internal validity and reliability of each assessment.  For example, our psychometrician will examine how each item on each assessment performed: did the student performance provide the intended information about student achievement? Our team will also examine if the timed nature of the test and the length of the test allowed the majority of students to respond.   

    The team will examine student performance to establish cut scores for the associated categorization of Milestones-like achievement levels: beginning, developing, proficient, or distinguished.  This information will inform the grade conversions. 

    The Accountability & Assessment team will also examine student past performance to current performance to build a model to determine the predictive nature of the assessments. This requires the merging of student’s current district benchmark performance with past Milestones assessments and linking student performance across the multiple different assessments.  This process will involve looking backwards to a student’s previous Milestones performance, as well as looking at their current year’s Milestones performance.  As such, this process will not be finalized until this summer when 2023 Milestones scores are received and after grade conversions are established. 

    Timeline for Analyses and Grading Guidance: 

    To support the GCPS community in understanding why grades on these district assessments are not available before semester break, we offer the timeline the team has established.  As you see from the timeline denoted below, GCPS staff are working over the holiday break along with our vendor to complete these processes to support grade finalization within the district’s existing window. 

    • December 5—Midyear Exam Window Opened (ES window) 
    • December 8—S1 Final Exam Window Opened (MS and HS window) 
    • Friday, December 16—Exams complete 
    • Monday, December 19—GCPS Received file from Edulastic; provided file to benchmark vendor to begin Equating and Linking 
    • Winter Break, December 19-30—GCPS analysis of non-benchmark assessments; creation of grade conversion charts of non-benchmark assessments (i.e., those assessments that are not linked to a Milestones tested grade or course) 
    • January 2—Benchmark vendor provides grade conversion charts
    • January 2-3—GCPS reviews vendor data and posts grade conversion charts 
    • January 4—Teacher Workday 

    What considerations go into grade conversions? 

    • Grade conversions allow for the evaluation of each test and each test item to confirm that the test measures the curriculum standards that students were taught. 
    • Post-determined grade conversions are more equitable. This method allows for examination of items across all respondents, while also providing an opportunity to remove bad items, to remove items students didn’t get to answer due to time limits of the test, and to examine performance across rigor of items. 
    • Determining grade conversions based on actual student performance after testing provides a more accurate conversion than using a pre-determined grade conversion that is established based on adult assumptions about how students will perform. 
    • Grade conversions differ from “curves” because there are students across GCPS who score 100% prior to the grade conversion. Typically test scores are curved because no student scored 100% and the purpose of the curve is to redistribute actual earned scores across a typical bell curve. Grade conversions allow for score adjustments based on the characteristics of the assessment rather than a curve which typically adjusts student scores based on the highest student score. 
    • This semester, we are establishing a score to enter in the gradebook, as well as predictive Milestones performance levels based on first semester standards. 
    • With literacy and math curriculum pilots at various schools across the district, we also must review individual school performance considering standards taught during the first semester.