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City Releases Kids' Scores on Harder State Tests

By Amy Zimmer | August 26, 2013 10:43am | Updated on August 26, 2013 12:53pm
Tom Goodkind ranked all of the city's public elementary schools based on the percentage of fourth-graders who passed the English Language Arts exam in 2013.
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DNAinfo/Tracy Prussin

NEW YORK CITY — Families can now log in and see how their kids fared on this year’s harder state reading and math exams, but at least one parent is advising them to stay offline and ignore the results

Nearly three weeks after the city released schools’ scores — revealing that less than a third of students in grades three through eight passed the new exams — families can easily access their own kids’ scores online by logging in to ARIS Parent Link, the Department of Education’s student information database.

But Education Department administrators warned parents to be cautious about judging their children against the tests purely based on test results alone.

"I would say take this with a grain of salt," Shael Polakow-Suransky, department’s chief academic officer, said on the Brian Lehrer show Monday, adding that "when you look at this data, you're not going to be able to compare it to last year," but it would be useful in comparing how your child fared compared to the rest of the city's students.


Tory Frye, a parent of a first grader and sixth grader District 6, which includes northern Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, advised other parents not to share the info with their kids.

“Do not tell our children what their ‘number’ is, no matter how high or low,” Frye wrote in an email to other parents on Monday.

“I know so many parents are really worried about their scores. They want to know how their children compare to others,” Frye told DNAinfo, adding that her own son, a rising sixth grader, opted out of the tests and isn't included in the ARIS list.

“But how does the child react to find out they’re a 1 or 2 [failing grades]. What does that do to them and to the parents, with the kind of anxiety it would provoke?”

Polakow-Suransky added that the DOE welcomed parent feedback, saying that while the tests weren't perfect, they were a good start.

Citywide, the number of students earning level 3 or 4 to pass the English Language Arts exam fell to 26 percent from last year’s 47 percent. On math, about 30 percent passed, down from last year’s 60 percent.

School officials tried to lessen the blow of this year’s dismal results, telling parents they shouldn’t compare the scores to previous years since the exams were changed to correspond to new, more “rigorous” federal standards based on the Common Core curriculum. Instead, the scores should be used as a baseline, officials said.

“It’s our goal to reach as many families as possible and for each of them to know their child’s score,” DOE spokesman Devon Puglia said in an email. “These scores are a new baseline for our students, from tests that are entirely different from those taken in previous years. It’s a big step for our children.”

To help parents understand how to use ARIS and learn more about the Common Core, public libraries will be hosting information sessions.

Though the test scores were available online beginning Monday, they had already been available by phone or in person at individual schools.

The DOE could not immediately say how many parents were checking their results here.