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Nation's Report Card provides new look at Georgia student test scores through the pandemic

The Nation's Report Card has mostly good news for Georgia but also indicates areas of concern

ATLANTA — Georgia students have held steady through the pandemic according to a national education organization, but test scores show at least one area of concern.

The National Center for Educational Statistics released its Nation’s Report Card after testing a sampling of 4th and 8th graders across the country. Test results indicate that the pandemic damaged learning nationwide. Average test scores in reading and math declined in most states when compared to results from 2019. According to the report, the average reading score for 4th graders was the lowest since 2005.

The average 8th grade math score was the lowest since 2003.

However, Georgia test scores for the most part remained essentially at the same level between 2019 and 2022.

Metro Atlanta parents acknowledge that the pandemic created tremendous challenges. Outside of a Decatur elementary school, Marco Friend said his oldest child was in kindergarten when remote learning became the norm.

“When you’re learning to read, it’s very difficult to do in a remote setting,” he told 11Alive.

Fortunately, Friend’s wife is a reading specialist.

“She’s worked with him to get him up to where he needs to be,” Friend said. “When you can’t get that small group or one-on-one attention, it shows.”

In most categories, the declines in Georgia test scores between 2019 and 2022 were not significant, according to National Center for Educational Statistics Commissioner Dr. Peggy Carr.

“This is a bright spot among all of what we’re seeing,” she said. “Two years into the pandemic and still to be able to have proficiency scores comparable to the pre-pandemic years. I think that’s good.”

In a statement, Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods said the test results are a testament to the hard work of teachers and students in Georgia.

“Given the impact of the pandemic on several years of these students’ schooling, I am encouraged to see them performing at the national average and with no significant changes in performance compared to 2019,” said Woods. “Knowing that there is still work to be done together, we will remain laser focused on academic recovery.”

Georgia’s 8th grade math scores saw an eight point decline, equal to the average drop-off nationwide.

The percentage of Georgia 8th graders that performed above the National Center for Educational Statistic’s basic level was 67% in 2019. It was only 59% in 2022.

“You need to be worried,” Dr. Carr said of the math scores. “We all need to be worried because it’s not just your kid or my kid. These are children that will represent the next generation.”

Carr added that going forward, educators need to focus not only on academics but the mental health of students.


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