Last week the Georgia Department of Education released scores from the 2022-2023 Milestones Assessments, and there seems to be early gains in early literacy across the state. The 3rd Grade Georgia Milestones Assessment measures how well 3rd-grade students have learned knowledge and skills in the core areas of language arts and mathematics. The third grade English/Language Arts (ELA) scores increased three percentage points while third graders reading on grade level or above increased from 64 to 66 percent.
“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. “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. Of course, there is still work to do, and we will continue to invest in strategies to address lost learning opportunities.”
This comes as no surprise as Georgia school districts received nearly $6 billion in federal pandemic relief funds to serve students most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the 2022 CARES Impact Study, the five largest areas of ESSR expenditure funds focused on hiring certified staff, summer learning programs, IT & technology infrastructure, instructional software, and instructional resources.
The biggest gains in the 2022-2023 Georgia Milestone scores occurred in ELA and mathematics at the elementary through middle school levels, with a decline in science and social studies at the high school levels.