Slight gains in New York state math and English test scores
New York City elementary and middle school students are doing better academically — and even beating statewide averages by some measures, new test results show.
Some 45.6% of city kids were proficient in statewide math tests given in grades three through eight in 2019, the state Education Department said Thursday. That was a 2.9 percentage point increase from tests given in 2018, when 42.7% of students were proficient, the state says.
City students in grades three through eight also did better on English tests — which showed 47.4% of city students were proficient in 2019, up 0.7 percentage points from the 46.7% restult in 2018.
Mayor de Blasio and city Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza touted the gains as a sign that the mayor’s signature Pre-K for All initiative is having a “long-term benefit.”
“Our first class of Pre-K students are closing the opportunity gap and improving scores across the board,” de Blasio said. “There is still lots of work ahead, but the future is brighter than ever for students and their families.”
City school students still lag behind statewide averages on math tests — but they’re closing the gap.
In math, 46.7% of students statewide rated as proficient on this year’s tests, a gap of 1.1 percentage points ahead of city students’ results. In 2018, the statewide proficiency rate of 44.5% was 1.8 percentage points ahead of New York City.
On English tests, city students are widening their lead over statewide results.
In English, 45.4% of students statewide were rated as proficient on the 2019 tests — 2 percentage points behind New York City students. In 2018, 45.2% of students statewide were proficient in English — 1.5 percentage points behind city students.
Statewide results showed that black, Hispanic and Native American kids are gaining on white students, the Education Department said.
“I’m proud of the progress we have made in terms of reducing gaps in student achievement,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “Assessments are a part of the larger picture that we look at when we examine performance levels across the state.”
New York State United Teachers, which boasts a membership of 600,000 working and retired teachers, offered a wary-eyed perspective on the latest results, criticizing the state’s standardized testing system as “badly broken.”
“Too many students are forced to take tests that are too long and include questions that are not developmentally appropriate,” the union said in a statement. “Invalid scoring benchmarks continue to mislabel children."
In May, the union called on the state Board of Regents to push the Education Department to revamp the grades 3-8 test, as well as other state-wide exams.
The state Education Department revamped its tests in 2018, so while 2018 and 2019 tests scores can be reasonably compared to one another, 2017 test results are not comparable. In 2019, more than one million kids took the statewide test.