By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — A shocking number of New York City's elementary and middle school students were held back this year, as the city raised its standards for promotion, the New York Times reported Friday.
Under the new criteria, 11,321 third-through-eighth graders, including eight percent of all publicly educated eighth grade students, failed to advance, the paper said.
That number rose by five times compared to last year, although this is partly due to the city's decision to expand the number of grades that a student is eligible to repeat, adding fourth, sixth, and eighth grades to the previous list of third, fifth and seventh, according to the Times.
Now, lacking funds to provide additional help to the massive number of struggling students, the Department of Education has rerouted money that would have been spent on tutoring to devising new in-class strategies for helping them, the paper said. Teachers were told to allot 37 minutes per week towards developing the new strategies, and interventionist specialists, each carrying an average caseload of 60 schools, will also assist, according to the Times.
The new promotion standards required any students who received a one, the lowest possible score, on the state's math or English exam to enroll in summer school, and anyone who continued to score below standards at the end of the summer would be held back, the paper reported.