State School Superintendent: John D. Barge
Primary Point of Contact: Juan-Carlos Aguilar — Science Program Manager
Partner Organizations: Alliance of Education Agency Heads; Georgia Science Teachers’ Association; Georgia Science Supervisors’ Association; Georgia Youth Science Technology Centers; Georgia Public Broadcasting; Georgia Science Education Advisory Committee; The University System of Georgia; Southern Polytechnic State University.
Background: Georgia requires all students to take four credit units in science that must include one unit of biology, one unit of physical science or physics, one unit of either chemistry, earth science, environmental science, or an AP/IB course, and one additional science elective. The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) are configured in grade bands, K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12, with certain standards spanning K–8 and 9–12 courses. The science standards are assessed using the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in grades 3–8, and high school courses are assessed through end of course tests in biology and physical science. The GPS form a basis for content standards; however school districts may add additional content based on local needs, characteristics, and student populations. Georgia standards are revised every four years, and the next revision period is aligned to the timeline for the release of the Next Generation Science Standards.
Commitment: Georgia has shown a strong commitment to standards based learning through its adoption of the Common Core State Standards, and its position as a governing state in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Georgia demonstrated its dedication to science education in 2008 when it changed the state graduation requirements from three to four credits which included specific course requirements, beginning with the Class of 2012. Additionally, Georgia has strong legislative support and strong partnerships in place to assist with the adoption of NGSS, and foresees a smooth transition to the new standards.
STEM Involvement: Recent policy changes in Georgia have shown dedication to developing strong science and STEM programs throughout the state. In addition to the new graduation requirements, in order to encourage STEM instruction beginning in 2012–13, Georgia will now require science to be the second indicator for Adequate Yearly Progress purposes. Georgia has also developed the STEM State School Designation program which distinguishes schools and school programs that focus daily instruction around a STEM idea. This encourages schools to further develop STEM programs and education. The College and Career Ready Performance Index is a tool used to determine the achievement level necessary for a student to enter a two or four year post-secondary institution without remediation. The tool then uses this information to create a progress model for schools to set objectives for student achievement in the STEM subjects in college and the workplace.
Alliances and Infrastructure: Georgia has significant alliances and partnerships that will assist with different aspects of the transition to new standards process. The Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH) comprised of representatives from the Georgia Department of Education, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Department of Early Care and Learning, Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Georgia Student Finance Commission, and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement is making and reviewing crucial policy decisions and is an essential partner in this endeavor. Regionally, Georgia has sixteen Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) to provide ground work in communications, training, and support with local school districts. The Georgia Science Teachers’ Association, Georgia Science Supervisors’ Association, and Georgia Youth Science Technology Centers provide additional support to the Georgia Department of Education. The Georgia Science Education Advisory Committee comprised of teachers, university professors, business, industry, and informal education stakeholders, is another important organization that provides feedback and support to the Department of Education regarding standards, curriculum, and policy. Georgia Public Broadcasting works as a collaborative partner that affords training resources and communication of critical information associated with the implementation of science standards and frameworks. This partnership will become essential in adopting the NGSS during the implementation process. Additionally included in Georgia’s state lead application were letters of support from: Governor Nathan Deal; Wanda Barrs, Georgia State Board of Education; Henry Huckaby, The University System of Georgia; and Zvi Szafran, Southern Polytechnic State University.
Check back soon for more information on Georgia's state team and implementation plans