GOSA Releases New Report Showing Link between 3rd Grade Reading and Later Academic Outcomes

March 22, 2017

Today the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) released a study examining the relationship between students’ 3rd grade reading proficiency and future academic success. Reading proficiency in 3rd grade is often linked to future academic success, but statewide data had not previously been analyzed to examine the link in Georgia.

Following a cohort of 3rd grade students from 2007 through 2016, the study finds that students who earned higher scores on the 3rd grade reading CRCT had higher high school graduation rates, were more likely to take the ACT or SAT, and had higher average ACT and SAT scores compared to students in the other performance levels. Some of the key findings include:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 students who exceeded expectations on the 3rd grade reading CRCT graduated from high school nine years later. Only 6 in 10 students who did not meet expectations in 3rd grade reading graduated nine years later.
  • Male students who did not meet expectations on the 3rd grade reading CRCT were 11 percentage points less likely to graduate than female students in that performance level.
  • In all three performance levels, economically disadvantaged students had graduation rates almost ten points lower than students who were not economically disadvantaged.
  • Three-fourths of students who scored in the exceeds expectations performance level in 3rd grade took either the SAT or ACT in high school. Only one-fourth of students in the does not meet expectations performance level took either test.
  • The average ACT and SAT score of students in the exceeds category in 3rd grade was significantly higher than students in both the meets and does not meet expectations performance levels.

The graduation rate, ACT/SAT participation rate, and ACT/SAT score patterns were consistent regardless of student race/ethnicity, gender, poverty, ELL status, and disability status.

It is important to note that, while this report provides general trends in high school outcomes by 3rd grade reading performance, it does not establish that 3rd grade reading levels cause higher high school graduation rates or SAT/ACT performance.  Many other factors that are not taken into account affect these outcomes.

The full report and downloadable data are included below.