Georgia students trail nation in math, reading

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 1:07 PM
Last updated 1:09 PM
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ATLANTA — Georgia fourth- and eighth-graders are performing only slightly better than they did two years ago on national reading and math exams, and most of the students tested continue to lag the national average in both subjects.

The data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card, was released Tuesday morning. The results show that only Georgia fourth-graders matched the national average with 32 percent passing muster on the reading test.

Most students tested in the state trail the nation in both subjects. The largest gap is in eighth-grade math, where 28 percent of Georgia students were proficient, compared to 34 percent for the nation.

On the reading test, 28 percent of the state’s eighth-graders met standards, compared to 32 percent for the nation.

“The scores demonstrate that we have a lot of work to do and our public schools and teachers need the support of parents, the public and policymakers more than ever before,” said Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, which represents more than 81,000 educators across the state.

Despite the lags, Georgia students saw slight improvement over 2009 tests and some saw big increases since the tests were first administered in the early 1990s. For example, just 14 percent of eighth-graders in 1990 were considered proficient in math, compared to 28 percent this year.

Just 15 percent of fourth-graders in 1992 were proficient in math, but this year 37 percent hit that mark.

“The fact that our students showed improvement ... is encouraging and demonstrates that Georgia’s students are making great strides in competing with the rest of the nation,” Georgia schools Superintendent John Barge said.

The average scores on the tests were the best ever for the state in both subjects, with the biggest gains in mathematics. The average math score in 1992 for fourth-graders was 216, compared to 238 this year.

For eighth-graders, math scores rose from 259 in 1990 to 278 this year, though the score hasn’t changed since 2007.

Gaps between black and white students in both subjects have seen slight improvements over time. The biggest improvement was for fourth-grade math, where the average score for black students trailed whites by 25 points, compared to the 32-point difference in 1992.

The test is considered the best state-to-state measure of classroom progress. It is Congressionally mandated and administered by the U.S. Department of Education.


On the Net:

Georgia Department of Education:

National Assessment of Educational Progress:

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Chillen 11/01/11 - 01:13 pm
Public schools are failing

Public schools are failing our children. Another example of government incompetence.

rmwardsr 11/01/11 - 01:59 pm
Georgia fourth- and

Georgia fourth- and eighth-graders are performing only slightly better than they did two years ago ,
Uncle Elmo is repeating the fourth grade for the third time. He will be eligible for Social Security by the time he gets to tenth grade.

pearlthesquirrel 11/01/11 - 02:29 pm
Well, well, well, so the

Well, well, well, so the middle schoolers are failing math. You could have knocked me over with a feather after that comment. Hey Chillen -public education is NOT failing our children - the parents and the students are the cause of the failure. Their curriculum is fine. I have written 1500 word diatribes on this subject but let me keep it as simple as I can. 45% of the problem is parent-related (parents don't help their kids...parents can't help their kids...parents only see the school as a 7 - 3 baby sitting nauseum). 45 % of the problem is the students (students don't take copious notes...students see school as social time...students don't study...students have an entitlement nauseum). The other 10% is "anything and everything else." I am highly proficient in math, yet I can't get hired by Columbia County - why? It's the "good ol' boy" network. I've turned failing math students into Einsteins; but if you're not "connected", who cares? There's a reason my friends call me Mr. Math or Mad Math (you Mad Max) for a reason. I have been interviewed for math positions and let me tell you a fact - never, and by never I mean NEVER - NEVER in an interview have I ever been asked a math content question - NEVER!!! Teaching math is about #12 on their list of requirements. What requirements are more important than knowing your math? I'll tell everybody. 1.) Psychologist 2.) Psychiatrist 3.) Baby-sitter 4.) Psychic 5.) Ability to indoctrinate "preventive maintenance" 6.) Doctor 7.) Janitor 8.) Do I need to keep going? I think not. If you want to know what is really happening in schools today may I suggest a book? Try reading Bad Students - Not Bad Schools by Robert Weissberg. He says what everyone is afraid to say - well, other than me that is. Anytime, anywhere, I'll debate anyone on this issue.

Chillen 11/01/11 - 02:43 pm
@pearlthesquirrel. So by your

@pearlthesquirrel. So by your reasoning - blaming 100% of the education systems failure on the parents - you are saying that Georgia parents are just about the worst in the nation (ranking 49th out of 50 in parenting skills)?

I speak from experience. I've had my kids in private and public schools. There is no comparison. Nor will there ever be. Private schools blow public schools away - they aren't burdened with ridiculous rules, tenured teachers and wildly out of control political correctness.

I say the blame is shared by the parents & the schools. But I stick to my statement. The public schools are failing the kids. Because they are.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/01/11 - 03:57 pm

pearlthesquirrel wrote:

Public education is NOT failing our children - the parents and the students are the cause of the failure.

If you do not believe pearlthesquirrel, then just ask any other teacher. They will all say the same thing.

CobaltGeorge 11/01/11 - 08:12 pm
And I think our government

And I think our government 89.9999999% control of our public schools has a lot to do with the "blah, blah, blah."

Vito45 11/01/11 - 08:24 pm
Kids not learning

Kids not learning fundamentals basically boils down to parents or lack of. Kids being taught things we might disagree with is the school's or teacher's fault. Kids that excel at Davidson or private school will also excel at public school. When the school is FULL of miscreants, nobody learns anything in the chaos.

(edit) It is interesting to follow the links in the article to see the actual data you can slice, dice, and draw conclusions from. No surprises though.

bjphysics 11/01/11 - 08:28 pm
Pearlthesquirrel: “When you

Pearlthesquirrel: “When you have a repeating decimal (3.175175175) and you put that "little bar" over the top of that "175"...what's that bar called? It's called a vinculum.”

That’s what it is called at the elementary math level; at and beyond the calculus of residues level it is called a “doohickey”.

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