By JEFF AMY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Department of Education is releasing data on how public schools and districts performed in the 2021-2022 school year, but the state isn’t assigning A-to-F letter grades for a third year in a row because of limited data following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Figures released Wednesday showed a rise in high school graduation rates compared to 2019, the last year before the pandemic, but a drop in academic scores for content mastery and readiness to advance to the next grade. Those drops were not unexpected. State test score results released in July showed scores rose from 2021, but remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
Elementary students statewide scored 63 on content mastery, down from 68.7 on a 100-point scale in 2019. Scores for middle schoolers dropped to 60 from 67.6, while those for high schoolers dropped from 70 to 64.7.
Academic readiness to move to the next grade also fell, dipping from 81 to 71.8 for elementary grades, from 82.9 to 75.1 for middle schoolers, and from 74.5 to 73.2 among high schoolers.
Readiness scores are not the same as in 2019 because the 2022 numbers don’t include student attendance for all students, or college and career readiness for high school students.
The share of high school students graduating in four years rose, however, from 82.6% in 2019 to 84.7% in 2022.
“We know the pandemic had an undeniable impact on student learning,” state Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement. “It’s our role, responsibility and privilege moving forward to ensure districts and schools have the resources they need to continue investing in students and combatting the effects of lost learning opportunities.”
The state has hired academic recovery specialists to work with schools, awarded grants to expand after-school and summer programs, provided instructional aids and established an office to support rural schools.
The federal government waived part of the requirements for the state’s common evaluation system. Georgia said it couldn’t reliably compute some figures because there was no testing in 2020 and widely varying shares of students from school to school took tests in 2021.
Normally, schools and districts are graded on a single 100-point scale in what Georgia calls the College and Career Ready Performance Index, with a letter grade assigned based on the score.
Georgia didn’t administer its Milestones standardized tests to students in grades 3-8 and high school in the spring of 2020, and produced no grades after that year. The state didn’t assign grades based on the 2021 tests either, meaning schools last received new grades in 2019.
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