Georgia students’ test scores remain below pre-pandemic levels

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(The Center Square) — While Georgia public school students’ Georgia Milestones scores are improving, state officials said results have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels.

According to officials, results improved or remained steady in 13 of 21 assessments.

They noted that most gains happened among elementary and middle school students in English and math. Conversely, most declines transpired in science and social studies among high school students.

“Even for this year’s third graders, whose entire academic career has been impacted by the pandemic, we can see evidence of growth,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in an announcement.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see increases in English Language Arts and literacy, especially in the early grades – given all we know about the importance of learning to read and then reading to learn by third grade,” Woods added. “Of course, there is still work to do, and we will continue to invest in strategies to address lost learning opportunities.”

In 2019, 73% of third grade students and 74% of eighth graders read at grade level or above.

For third graders, that number dropped to 62% in 2021 and increased to 64% in 2022 and 66% in 2023. For eighth graders, that number dropped to 68% in 2021 and increased to 70% in 2022 and 71% in 2023.

In 2019, 52% of third grade students and 35% of eighth graders were proficient learners or above in math.

For third graders, that number dropped to 38% in 2021 and increased to 43% in 2022 and 46% in 2023. For eighth graders, that number dropped to 32% in 2021 and increased to 36% in 2022 and 36% in 2023.

State officials cautioned against comparing to 2021 results because of reduced test participation and “pandemic-related impacts on students’ learning environments.”

While schools administered regular testing in 2019, schools canceled spring testing in 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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