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Less than half of city students met state standards for math and reading in the 2017-18 school year


City School Chancellor Richard Carranza (left) and Mayor de Blasio (right) with member of the next generation of students. (Go Nakamura / for New York Daily News)

Less than half of city students met state standards for math and reading in the 2017-18 school year, test scores released Wednesday show.

Citywide, 46.7% of students in grades 3 to 8 were proficient in reading on the annual standardized exams and 42.7% were proficient in math.

And statewide, 45.2% of students in those grades met standards in reading and 44.5% met standards in math.

State education officials said comparisons to 2016-17 scores were impossible due to changes to the tests, but the data showed scores crept up slightly statewide and in the city.

Mayor de Blasio said the results suggest the public schools are on the right track but provide limited information about student achievement.

“We never want to overstate standardized tests to begin with,” he said.

“They are one of multiple measures. So this tells us something. It doesn’t tell us everything,” he added.

State test scores are used by city schools in decisions to admit students and by school officials in decisions to promote students. They are also regarded as an indicator of academic performance generally.

But they are also controversial because many educators believe them to be a poor indicator of student learning.

State Education Department officials altered the tests this spring to better align them with academic standards. But they were still met with a mixed reception.

Statewide, 18% of families boycotted the recent exams, with roughly 4% of city families choosing to sit out the optional tests.

As in previous years, black and Hispanic students in the city and across the state faced achievement gaps on the tests.

Students with disabilities and English language learners also posted lower scores on the exams.

Those lower scores reflected unequal conditions in public schools in the city and across the state, Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education Prof. David Bloomfield said.

“Continuing ineffective attention to these categories of students — in particular, maintaining concentrations of low-performing students in highly segregated schools — makes improvement even more of an uphill battle,” Bloomfield said.

As in previous years, the city’s privately run, publicly funded charter schools outperformed traditional, district-run public schools on the tests. But critics say charters enroll fewer needy students, compared with district schools.

The city’s so-called Renewal Schools, which have seen a huge influx of funding to aid students who struggle with academics, showed gains that barely kept pace with those made around the city.

City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said that this spring’s test sets a new baseline.

“We were able to get to a test that actually measures what students should know at each grade level,” he said. “Now I’m just asking please keep this for a while so we have something to compare it to.”