ATLANTA – Georgia students have yet to fully recover from the disruptions of the pandemic, but they’re making steady progress, according to the latest results from the Georgia Milestones tests.

This year’s results, released Friday, showed increases on 13 of 21 assessments. Most of the gains came in English/Language arts and math, and at the elementary and middle-school levels.

Most declines occurred in science and social studies and at the high school level.

Third-grade students scored some of the largest increases, gaining on average three points in English/Language arts over 2022 scores. three points in math, and three points in reading. However, third-grade scores were still three points below the pre-pandemic year of 2019 in English/Language arts, while scores fell seven points in reading and six points in math.

Also, fewer than half of third graders scored at a proficient level in either English/Language arts or math. On the plus side, the third-grade students did better at reading, with 66% scoring proficient or above.

“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 Friday. “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.”

On the other hand, Georgia Milestones scores continued to drop for 8th-grade students in science and social studies. Only 26% of eighth graders scored as proficient or above in science, down three points from last year and six points from 2019.

Proficiency in social studies among eighth-graders fell to 36% this year, down one point from 2022 and five points from 2019.

The state Department of Education (DOE) is launching several initiatives aimed at addressing those poor results. The agency is hiring 100 certified teachers to serve as virtual tutors in a program set to to start with the upcoming 2023-24 school year.

The DOE will partner with AmeriCorps to provide tutoring for up to 5,000 students at schools identified as in need of tutors and expand the availability of BEACON, which measures students’ progress throughout the school year to allow educators to target instruction.

“There is still work to do,” Woods said. “We will continue to invest in strategies to address lost learning opportunities.”