Elementary and Middle School Test Scores Rise, Data Shows

By Jill Colvin on July 18, 2012 10:41am 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city is a model for the rest of the country.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city is a model for the rest of the country.
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Mayor's Office/Kristen Artz

CITY HALL — City elementary and middle school students saw steady gains in state math and English tests this year, but they continue to lag behind the rest of the state, according to new schools data released Tuesday.

Students’ scores increased by 3 points in English and 2.7 points in math versus last year. But that still means that just 47 percent of third-through-eighth graders were deemed proficient in English — well behind the state-wide average of 59.5 percent.

In math, 60 percent of city students were deemed proficient, versus 67 percent of students state-wide.

“I’m happy to report that this year’s results are very positive,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a news conference at Tweed Courthouse announcing the results. “The performance of New York City students continues to improve relative to previous years and relative to their counterparts across the state.”

The biggest gains were seen in seventh and eighth graders, whose English scores jumped by 6.8 points and 4 points from 2011 to 2012.

On the other side of the spectrum, English Language Learners’ scores actually dropped, with just 11.6 percent testing proficient in 2012, down from 12.4 percent the previous year.

Charter school students also vastly outperformed students attending traditional schools, with English proficiency jumping 7 points, from 44.5 percent to 51.5 percent for charter school students, and math proficiency jumping 3.5 points, from 68.5 percent to 72 percent.

Schools officials stressed that the tests have become longer and more difficult over the years, with a broader range of subjects covered and more complex questions types.

“In New York City we’ve always supported raising the bar for our students,” the mayor said.

The tests are expected to get even more difficult next year.

Teachers' union President Michael Mulgrew's assessment was more positive than usual, but he refused to give the administration credit for the gains.

“This modest increase in scores — particularly in the middle schools — is a tribute to the students and teachers who worked hard last year,” he said.

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