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UWS Students Score Well Above Citywide Average on State Tests

By Emily Frost | August 8, 2013 3:28pm
 Parents and students leave P.S. 87, a K-5 school that performed above the citywide average on standardized state tests.
Parents and students leave P.S. 87, a K-5 school that performed above the citywide average on standardized state tests.
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DNAinfo/ Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — While neighborhood students won't get their individual test scores on the controversial new standardized state tests for another few weeks, results broken out in the district show the Upper West Side stacking up much better than average results citywide.

On the new English Language Arts test, which Department of Education reps said was intentionally more challenging this year, 41.5 percent of District 3's third- through eighth-grade students passed, compared to the citywide average of just 26.4 percent. 

By comparison, in District 2 — which includes the Upper East Side, TriBeCa, Gramercy Park, SoHo and the West Village — 54 percent of third- through eighth-graders passed the English test. 

Math scores on the Upper West Side were on par with the English scores, with 42.6 percent passing. In District 2, that figure jumped to 60 percent. 

Results fluctuated by school, according to DOE data. 

The Sarah Anderson School on West 84th Street beat the district averages, with at least 65 percent of its students passing both tests in the third through fifth grades. 

While 42 percent of third-graders at The Emily Dickinson School on West 96th Street passed the math test, only 24.8 percent passed the English test, with fourth and fifth grades not faring much better.  

Fewer than 22 percent of students at P.S. 76, a K-8 school on West 121st Street, passed either test. 

However, fourth-graders at P.S. 199 on West 70th Street did exceptionally well, with 83.6 percent passing the math test and 79.5 percent passing the English test. 

Despite district Superintendent Ilene Altschul's insistence that the test scores will not be counted in evaluating schools, teachers or students, education leaders in the district were angered by the new tests. 

"This year we are now raising the standards… the Common Core standards are different," Altschul insisted at a District 3 Community Education Council meeting Wednesday night, urging members not to compare this year's test results to last year's.

But CEC members bristled at the idea school communities and students would be judged by the test results as soon as next year — and at the fact that this year's scores were even being shared at all if the DOE didn't want them evaluated and judged. 

"Knowing that you raised the bar and there were going to be issues, why bother with scoring the test to see what the outcomes were if you were going to raise the bar but not have it count?" asked CEC member Donna Veronica Gill. 

Altschul reiterated that students wouldn't be judged by their results.

"But you’ve actually just ruined a child’s self esteem," Gill responded.

CEC member Noah Gotbaum called the changing standards a "fiasco."

"How can we as parents trust the DOE if we are being told different things... and the definition is changing every few years?" he asked. 

Newly elected CEC President Joe Fiordaliso said he'd heard frustration from parents who were hearing about citywide and even school-specific scores but had to wait to see their child's scores.

"Why are we forcing families and students to wait three weeks to get their individual scores?" he asked. "I would think there would be [a higher] level of consideration given to our kids."