Standardized math test scores drop to record low in Georgia schools; other scores suffer

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Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Students in Georgia scored low on the National Milestones Assessment Test, according to state education officials. They also say this test provides a clear picture of the educational damage from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts are saying the pandemic caused historic learning setbacks for children. Math scores saw their largest decreases ever, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

The standardized test, issued by the state, quizzes students on basic math and reading skills. Jennifer Johnson, principal of Northeast Middle School in Tifton, Ga, says she thinks students who spent longer periods learning online suffered greater setbacks.

“Well, it’s a long test. They have to sit for at least 60 minutes. Kids were not used to sitting for that long, so the level of endurance that they had to build back up for traditional classroom, traditional testing, traditional instruction was huge,” Johnson said.

“I’d encourage you to share that parents should use state-level assessment scores and local benchmarks to gauge their child’s learning,” Communications Director of the Georgia Department of Education, Meghan Frick said.

Every region saw test scores decline. Every state saw a decrease in at least one subject.

Being a teacher and student during the height of the pandemic was not easy. Lisa Delk, a 7th-grade teacher at Northeast Middle School, said their staff has come together to start learning initiatives like after-school programs and daily interventions that work with students throughout the day to combat the low-test scores.

She says several major districts saw test scores fall by more than 10 points.

“We try to keep them really informed of where they are like this is where you are these are your strengths these are your weaknesses,” Delk said.

Renee Cannady has a 9th and 6th grader that attends Tift County Schools. She says she believes test scores declined due to the lack of one-on-one teacher interaction.

“I believe the environment of the classroom and more one-on-one with the teachers would have helped them. And I think they had to skip a lot of stuff too when they were doing online. They couldn’t cover as much as they normally would in a classroom,” Cannady said.

Another parent told WALB she’s confident in Tift County Schools and the teachers to help students reverse the decline in testing scores. The staff at Northeast Middle School have come together to start Learning initiatives like after-school programs, and daily interventions that work with students throughout the day to combat the low-test scores.