• Assessment graphic The Dougherty County School System administers a broad array of assessments to measure classroom effectiveness, content mastery, and to support both academic programs and social growth. 

    Assessments administered in the DCSS include:

    ACCESS for ELLs  

    ACCESS for ELLs is administered, annually, to all English learners in Georgia. ACCESS for ELLs is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English learners’ social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. ACCESS for ELLs meets the federal requirements that mandates require states to evaluate EL students in grades K through 12 on their progress in learning to speak English. 

    ACCESS for ELLs is used to determine the English language proficiency levels and progress of ELs in the domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. ACCESS for ELLs serves five main purposes. These include:

    • determining the English language proficiency level of students;
    • providing districts with information that will help them evaluate the effectiveness of their ESOL programs;
    • providing information that enhances instruction and learning in programs for English language learners;
    • assessing annual English language proficiency gains using a standards-based assessment instrument;
    • providing data for meeting federal and state requirements with respect to student assessment.


    Link to more information and resources:


    Alternate ACCESS for ELLs

    Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is a recently developed, individually administered test. It is intended only for English learners with significant cognitive disabilities that are severe enough to prevent meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs assessment. Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is not intended for ELs who can be served with special education accommodations on ACCESS for ELLs. Decisions regarding a student's participation must be made by an IEP team.  


    Participation Criteria:

    1. The student has been classified as an EL.​​
    2. The student has been classified as a special education student and is receiving special education services.
    3. The student has a significant cognitive disability.
    4. The student participates in the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA).


    Importantly, students shall not be administered both the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs and the ACCESS for ELLs.​​

    Link to more information and resources:


    Georgia Alternate Assessment 2.0 (GAA 2.0) 

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) require that states ensure all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, have access to challenging academic standards and participate in the state’s assessment program. The U.S. Department of Education defines alternate achievement standards as establishing performance expectations that differ in complexity from grade-level achievement standards. These standards must be aligned with the state’s content standards, promote access to the general content standards, and articulate the highest achievement levels possible for the individual student. This means teachers may customize learning expectations for students who participate in alternate assessments.

    For students with disabilities, each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines how the student shall participate in Georgia’s student assessment program. If a student’s IEP team determines that a student cannot meaningfully access the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, even with maximum appropriate accommodations, then the student must participate in the GAA 2.0.

    The GAA 2.0 is designed to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities are provided access to the state academic content standards and given the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the knowledge, concepts, and skills inherent in the standards. ​

    This assessment will provide meaningful information about classroom instruction and help identify students’ areas of strength and improvement through standardized tests. Unlike the original GAA, GAA 2.0 is not a portfolio-based assessment. Thus, it will measure students’ achievement and not progress. The GAA 2.0 will be administered to all eligible students in the following areas:

    •  Grades 3-8, and 11 will be assessed in English language arts and mathematics.
    •  Science will also be assessed in grades 5, 8, and 11.
    • Social Studies will also be assessed in grades 8 and 11.

    The GAA 2.0 will include standardized items with multiple access points. The intent is bring greater standardization to the administration; improve scoring reliability; and introduce an online task submission system.


    Link for more information and resources:


    Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (GKIDS) Readiness Check 

    The GKIDS Readiness Check is a new component of the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (GKIDS). It is designed to be administered during the first six weeks of the kindergarten year. The GKIDS Readiness Check is aligned to the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS​) and correlated to the state mandates content standards for kindergarten. The goal of the assessment is to provide information about the skills of students entering kindergarten.  

    The primary purpose of the GKIDS Readiness Check is to highlight knowledge and skills critical for student success in learning – solely to guide instruction.

    The GKIDS Readiness Check is designed to be developmentally appropriate, reflecting research-based best practices for young learners, and will provide information that allows kindergarten teachers to individualize student instruction.


    Link to more information and resources:


    Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills 2.0 (GKIDS 2.0)

    GKIDS 2.0 is a progression-based formative assessment, integrated into classroom work, that is aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE). GKIDS 2.0 is organized around big ideas and learning progressions

    • ​A big idea describes the integration of concepts and skills from the kindergarten standards that are most important for success in first grade. 
    • learning progression shows where the student is in the learning continuum of content and reasoning development regarding the big idea from the GSE.
      • Learning progressions provide the big picture of what is to be learned across the year, relate increased reasoning of standards within the grade and across grades, and support instructional planning. 

    GKIDS 2.0 provides teachers with one source of real-time information to adjust instruction, by identifying what a student already knows, what the student needs next, and by allowing the teacher to monitor growth. 


    Link to more information and resources:

    keenville Keenville:  A Georgia Game-Based Assessment Initiative  

    Welcome to Keenville on Planet Peachy Keen!  We’re glad you’re here to meet our friends, the Keens.  The Keens live in Keenville and want to help Georgia’s youngest learners – those in first and second grade – grow and learn important reading and math skills.  Keenville is an innovative, developmentally appropriate game-based approach to formative assessment.

    Traditional tests are not developmentally appropriate for young learners, and too often capture only one moment in time. Game-based assessment provides an alternative that is research-based and adds value for students, educators and parents.

     Game based assessments provide a unique opportunity to:

    • integrate learning alongside assessment;
    • support and empower the teacher with information to differentiate instruction for all students, whether they are struggling, on-grade-level, or advanced; and
    • hook students into the fun of learning!

    Link to more information and resources:

    Georgia Milestones Assessment System 

    The Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones) is a comprehensive summative assessment program spanning grades 3 through high school.  

    Georgia Milestones measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state-adopted content standards in English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.   

    Students in grades 3 through 8 take an end-of-grade assessment in English Language Arts and mathematics.  Students in grades 5 and 8 are also assessed in science, while social studies is only assessed in grade 8.  High school students take an end-of-course assessment for each of the courses designated by the State Board of Education. 

    Features the Georgia Milestone Assessment System include:

    • open-ended (constructed-response) items in English Language Arts and mathematics (all grades and courses);
    • a writing component (in response to passages read by students) at every grade level and course within the English Language Arts assessment;
    • norm-referenced items in all content areas and courses, to complement the criterion-referenced information and to provide a national comparison; 
    • ​technology-enhanced items including multiple part/multiple answer, graphing, drag and drop; and
    • online administration considered the primary mode of administration and paper-pencil as back-up for those students with disabilities identified through the IEP or IAP process that do not allow them to access a computer or device.


    Students may visit Georgia Experience Online to see what Georgia Milestones online testing is like. The items on the demonstration tests are general and are organized into three grade bands: Grades 3 – 5, Grades 6 – 8, and High School in the content areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The items do not necessarily represent the specific grade-level content that students learn daily in their classrooms. The sample tests are not graded, so have fun! 


    Link to more information and resources:


    National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 

    For more than 40 years, information on what American students know and can do has been generated by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).It is the first ongoing effort to obtain comprehensive and dependable achievement data on a national basis in a uniform and scientific manner.  Commonly known as “The Nation’s Report Card”, NAEP is a congressionally mandated project of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

    Link to more information and resources:



    The PSAT is administered to all students in grade 10.  The PSAT is highly relevant to a student’s future success because the focus is on the skills and knowledge at the heart of education.  The PSAT measures what you learn in high school, as well as what you need to succeed in college.  To prepare for the test, we encourage students to take challenging courses, do their homework, and prepare for tests and quizzes.  


    Preparing for College 

    Students planning to apply to college, will more than likely have to take a college entrance exam.  Two common college admission tests are the SAT and ACT. For more information, click one of the links below to learn about the tests, dates, fees, and scores.  

    Test Out Option 

    As provided for in State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.05 (Awarding Units of Credit and Acceptance of Transfer Credit and/or Grades) adopted by the Board in April 2013, the opportunity exists for students to demonstrate subject area competency (“Test Out”) for any course for which there is an associated End of Course Exam and earn credit for the course through that process.

    For additional information, talk to your School Counselor.