New York released nearly 2,000 pages of data parsing the poor performance of students in third through eighth grade. In Rochester, for instance, just 5 percent of students scored proficient in math. Fewer than 9 percent of students in Syracuse passed the reading test. Statewide, just 19 percent of low-income students made the grade in language arts.
From the NY Times:
In New York City, 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the tests in English, and 30 percent passed in math, according to the New York State Education Department.
Last year, under an easier test, 47 percent of city students passed in English, and 60 percent in math.
City and state officials spent months trying to steel the public for the grim figures.
But when the results were released, many educators responded with shock that their students measured up so poorly against the new yardsticks of achievement.
But striking gaps in achievement between black and Hispanic students and their counterparts persisted. In math, 15 percent of black students and 19 percent of Hispanic students passed the exam, compared with 50 percent of white students and 61 percent of Asian students.
Students with disadvantages struggled as well. On the English exam, 3 percent of nonnative speakers were deemed proficient, and 6 percent of students with disabilities passed.
And even at some of the city’s highest-performing schools, there were noticeable drops. At the Anderson School in Manhattan, a highly selective school, for instance, 5 out of 65 eighth graders did not pass the English test; last year, the entire seventh grade passed the exam.
Yet critics fumed that the state was setting kids up to fail — and failing to acknowledge that crimped budgets, crowded classrooms and high student poverty rates have all played a role in limiting student achievement.
If these scores are any indication, they have certainly lower the bar (and their expectations).
And, guess who did the worst? Charter schools.
Fewer than a third of students in public schools passed the new tests, officials reported. And, in a twist that could roil education policy, some highly touted charter schools flopped particularly badly
Just 23 percent of charter students scored proficient in language arts, compared with 31 percent in public schools overall. That’s a greater gap than had shown up in last year’s exams.
In math, charter schools beat the public school average in each of the past two years — but not this year. On the new tests, just 31 percent of charter students scored proficient, the same as in public schools overall.
Results were mixed at some of New York City’s most highly touted charter schools, often acclaimed as “miracle” schools because in years past, so many of their mostly poor and minority students aced the state’s proficiency tests.
Interestingly, one group of charters did fantastically well (and I have to wonder about these scores):
The flourishing Success Academies network of charter schools continued to post outstanding results on the new exams, especially in math. In one of its schools in the Bronx, for instance, an astonishing 90 percent of third graders passed the math test, and 68 percent passed language arts. Both results far exceeded the citywide average of a 33 percent pass rate for math and 28 percent for language arts.