A study shows low reading level percentages for Georgia students

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - School leaders aren’t the only ones working through the test scores.

We have been hard at work looking at how third graders in the river region are doing with reading standards.

A study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found students who are not proficient in reading by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers, which is why we focused on third-grade reading results.

It’s one of the most important learning years in a child’s life.

The pandemic shut down schools across the state when they were in the first grade. Now they are about to go into fourth grade and test results show many will struggle this coming school year as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Thirty-six percent of third graders across Georgia are not reading at their grade level. That’s a 25 percent increase over the pandemic.

Students in Columbia, Glascock, and Lincoln county school districts are the only local districts to have more third graders reading on their grade level than the state average.

Hancock County, one of the hardest counties hit by COVID, ranks eighth in the state with the highest number of third graders behind on reading.

Richmond County ranks number 24 out of Georgia’s 210 school districts. Test results show more than half of all third graders in Augusta will enter the fourth grade struggling to read.

The number of third-grade students behind in reading grew 10 percent in both Richmond County and Burke County over the pandemic.

This year’s Georgia Milestone test is the first true baseline for districts to measure learning loss over the pandemic, which will help leaders to focus on trouble areas like reading.

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