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Milestones testing is back after a two-year hiatus, but not everyone is happy about it

The pressure is back on because 3rd, 5th and 8th graders could get held back if they don't do well on the test.

MACON, Ga. — The Georgia Milestones tests are back after a two-year break. In 2020, they were totally canceled due to the pandemic and in 2021 they were optional and counted for .01%  of a student's overall grade.

Now, they are back in action and counting for upward of 20% of some students' total grade.

"It's very nerve wracking. I am excited for high school and I think it will be a good schedule for me, but if I don't pass the Georgia Milestones I'm not going to get to that. I'm going to have to stay in the 8th grade again," said Abigail Edwards.

Edwards goes to Bibb County's Miller Fine Arts Magnet Middle School. She took the Georgia Milestones test in 2021 when it was optional. She still took it seriously, but says she did not worry about it much. 

The pressure is back on because 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders could get held back if they don't do well on the Milestones.

"I started to get nervous about it because all of the teachers would say, 'We are going to review this and you need to pay attention because we will be taking the Milestones and that's what decides if you pass or not,'" said Edwards.

"She is an excellent student. She's a straight A student, but that is an added stress to do your work all year and know that it still could be an added issue," said her mom, Tera Edwards.

The testing isn't required under federal law, so it's a state-by-state decision. Abigail's mother Tera wants to see a change in Georgia similar to the University System of Georgia, who waived the SAT or ACT for fall 2023 admission in many Georgia public colleges.

"Most universities in Georgia are no longer doing SAT and ACT. In a lot of ways, this is exactly the same high-stakes testing that the nation is moving away from and we are still doing it," she said.

For high schoolers, the tests are 20% of their grade. For some districts, it's even their final exam. The state releases each school and district's Milestone scores in July.

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