GOSA Releases 2015 Spring Milestones Erasure Analysis Results

February 17, 2016

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) today released the results of the spring 2015 Milestones End-of-Grade Test (EOG) and End-of-Course Test (EOC) erasure analyses of paper and pencil administrations. 

For the EOG Test, only 19 of 1,721 schools (1.1% of all Georgia elementary and middle schools) had at least one classroom flagged for wrong to right (w-t-r) erasures that requires further inquiry after the State’s initial desktop audit, a reduction from 5.9% in 2014.  This reduction is largely due to an increased standard deviation threshold for flagging, more robust desktop auditing procedures, and additional schools transitioning to online testing.

For the EOC Test, 14 schools out of 416 schools (3.3%) had at least one classroom requiring further inquiry, a slight increase from 2.1% in 2014.  Only one school statewide had two or more classrooms requiring further inquiry.  Slight fluctuations up and down each year are expected given the small number of schools flagged and the desktop audit review process to identify reasons for flags prior to requiring further inquiry.

GOSA partnered with Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), the state’s testing vendor in charge of developing and scoring Milestones exams, to conduct a comprehensive examination of all 546,287 paper and pencil answer documents for the EOG Test and all 231,507 paper and pencil answer documents for the EOC Test.  The analysis focused on the number of wrong answers that were changed to right answers on individual student answer sheets in English-Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies on the EOG Test and in Analytic Geometry, Coordinate Algebra, United States History, Economics, Biology, Physical Science, Ninth Grade Literature, and American Literature on the EOC Test.

The Audit Process

For the 2015 EOG erasure analysis, GOSA initially identified schools that either had five percent or more classrooms flagged at four or more standard deviations or one classroom flagged at seven or more standard deviations.[i] Using these thresholds, 94 classrooms in 40 schools in 23 LEAs were identified for an initial desktop audit by GOSA staff to determine a possible explanation for the flag that would remove the need for further inquiry.

For the 2015 EOC erasure analysis, GOSA initially identified schools that had at least one classroom flagged at five standard deviations or more.  Using this threshold, 32 classrooms in 23 schools in 12 LEAs were identified for an initial desktop audit.

In the desktop audit, many school-level factors are reviewed holistically and discussed as a team before any determinations are made. Schools are placed in one of two categories: “further inquiry needed,” or “no further inquiry needed.” After the desktop audit, 85 classrooms in 33 schools in 18 LEAs require further inquiry for either EOG or EOC.

Schools requiring further inquiry are included in recommendations to the SBOE for inquiry, monitoring, teacher rotation during testing, and on-site audits. It is important to note that the results of the erasure analysis are used as an initial flag to spur further investigation of many indicators to determine if any cheating occurred. The results do not indicate that cheating necessarily occurred.

GOSA, in collaboration with Georgia’s Department of Education, will continue to support local districts with improving their testing plans and enhancing the overall security of the test environment. As the state continues to transition to online administration of the Georgia Milestones, GOSA is working with DRC to develop analyses of irregular answer changes as well as analyses of response similarity and response time.

About the Georgia Milestones EOG

The Georgia Milestones EOG Assessment is a comprehensive summative assessment program spanning grades 3 through 8.  Georgia Milestones EOG measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state-adopted content standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.  Parents, the public, and policy makers, including local school districts and boards of education, can use the results as a barometer of the quality of educational opportunity provided throughout the state of Georgia.  As such, Georgia Milestones serves as a key component of the state’s accountability system – the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)[ii].  Additionally, the EOG results are used to inform student promotion and retention decisions in certain grades. Therefore, it is critical that reported scores are an accurate representation of students’ knowledge and skills.

About the Georgia Milestones EOC 

The Milestones EOC is a comprehensive summative assessment program for all students enrolled in a high school core content course. Georgia Milestones EOC measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state-adopted content standards in Analytic Geometry, Coordinate Algebra, United States History, Economics, Biology, Physical Science, Ninth Grade Literature, and American Literature.  Parents, the public, and policy makers, including local school districts and boards of education, can use the results as a barometer of the quality of educational opportunity provided throughout the state of Georgia.  As such, Georgia Milestones EOC serves as a key component of the state’s accountability system – the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).  Additionally, the EOC results are used to inform student promotion and retention decisions in certain grades. Therefore, it is critical that reported scores are an accurate representation of students’ knowledge and skills.

About GOSA 

As the state's P-20 education agency, the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) strives to increase student achievement, school completion, and life opportunities for all Georgia students. GOSA serves as the reporting and accountability agency for education in Georgia.  As such, GOSA is charged by law with inspecting academic records of schools to ensure that education institutions are faithful to performance accountability requirements.  Through an academic audit, GOSA reviews student assessment data and other school records reported to the State to confirm accuracy and explore the effectiveness of local initiatives in improving achievement.

Click here to access the analysis on GOSA’s academic auditing page.


[i] In prior years, GOSA placed schools into four categories based on the percentage of classrooms flagged within each school: Clear of concern; Minimal concern; Moderate concern; and Severe concern. As a result, schools with a classroom flagged with a high standard deviation were not identified for a desktop audit if less than 5% of the classrooms in a school were flagged. With this in mind, GOSA has adjusted the standard deviation levels for EOG and EOC and added a criterion that automatically flags classrooms with greater than 7 standard deviations.