In 2018, 62% of third-graders scored proficient or advanced on the state's English Language Arts exam. That was an increase from 55% in 2016 and compared to others, was above the level in Luzerne County (58%), though still below the statewide level of 64% in 2018.
Disparities within the county were striking, with only 39% of City of Erie students proficient or advanced. That was a five percentage point improvement increase from 2015, and consistent with national trends of lower academic performance among lower-income students. Around Erie County, the highest proficiency rates were in the Fairview and Harbor Creek school districts, at 88% and 85%, respectively. The biggest gain since 2015 was in General McLane School District, where proficiency increased 9 points to 78%. The largest decline was in Wattsburg Area School District, where it fell 10 points to 55%.
Reading and broader literacy skills (writing, speaking, listening) are developmental, and take hold in different children at different times. By third grade, if children are not reading on grade level, they are significantly more likely to experience trouble through the rest of their schooling and to leave high school without a diploma.
To learn more about the importance of third-grade reading, visit the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. To learn more about Erie County's educational performance, see Erie Vital Signs Education section.