Report: Test Performance Of NYC School Children Stagnant

NEW YORK (AP / WCBS 880) — Test scores for New York City’s fourth- and eighth-graders were flat between 2009 and 2011 and the racial achievement gap hardly budged between 2003 and 2011, according to figures from a national assessment of public schools released Wednesday.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On The Story

New York schoolchildren scored about the same as public school students in other large cities, according to the statistics from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the so-called nation’s report card.

One-third of the city’s fourth-graders were proficient in math and 29 percent were proficient in reading, according to the federal Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test.

Among eighth-graders, 24 percent were proficient in math and 24 percent in reading.

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the lack of progress does not cast doubt on policies that have been instituted since Mayor Michael Bloomberg won mayoral control of the school system in 2002, such as using student test scores to rate teachers and closing schools that are deemed to be failing.

“I believe in the reforms that we’ve put in place,” Walcott said. “It just puts a greater challenge to us. … Our goal is to improve on those reforms.”

To some degree, Bloomberg shrugged off the report.

“We have done better, made significant progress back from ’03. Are we where we want to be? No,” said his honor on Wednesday. “I think it just goes to show education is a very difficuly problem. We’re working as hard as we can. We are devoting as much money as we can.”

Walcott said a city initiative to open 50 new middle schools should improve the performance of eighth-graders.

“This is not a New York City challenge, he said.” This is a national challenge of middle schools … We’re willing to meet that challenge head on.”

But teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew called the NAEP scores “a lesson on how kids get shortchanged by school reform driven by a political agenda rather than research and evidence.” He added, “We’re not going to see real and consistent improvement until the system turns its back on test prep and begins to focus on strong curriculum and real instruction.”

The national NAEP scores released last month showed that just over one-third of all public school students were proficient in reading. In math, 40 percent of the fourth-graders and 35 percent of the eighth-graders had reached that level.

The results showed how far students are from achieving the federal No Child Left Behind law’s goal that every child in America be proficient in math and reading by 2014.

The scores released Wednesday were from fourth and eighth-graders in 21 large urban public school systems.

Scores in most of the urban districts changed little between 2009 and 2011.

In New York City, Bloomberg has stressed the importance of reducing the gap in test scores between white students and black and Hispanic students among the city’s 1.1 million public school pupils.

But according to the NAEP results, the city’s white students scored better than black and Hispanic students by margins ranging from 22 points to 31 points. Any reduction in the gap between 2003 and 2011 was not statistically significant.

Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said, “We’d like to see that gap closure happen more dramatically.”

Polakow-Suransky said New York City scored better than several other cities with lower percentages of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, a marker of poverty.

Ninety percent of the city’s fourth-graders and 87 percent of eighth-graders qualified for free or reduced price lunch. Nationally, the figures were 52 percent for fourth-graders and 48 percent for eighth-graders.

Why do you think these test results are the way they are? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Paul

    Wow! You all are just spewing out racist hate -and quite clearly without placing any real thought into the matter. Everything in the report can be directly linked to the economic system that we live in; an economic system that shares the same racist views and ideology as the posters here. The white vs minority gap can be explained by the SES status of the respective families; whites have more access to educational amendments and better schools to function in than blacks or hispanics (This is common knowledge by now)

    The school system -irrespective of state- funnels money into the more prominent white schools while leaving the schools in minority neighborhoods to fend for themselves. How can there be an accurate comparison between schhols -or races for that matter- with this contrived method of disbursment.

    As an addition: It is a sad state of affairs that this blatant racism can still be held in peopl’s hearts in the year 2011; shame on you!

  • FedUp

    The problem is mostly the parents fault, but partially the schools fault as well. I;’m not saying that teachers aren’t doing their jobs, but it seems that schoolwork has been progressively dumbed down to help kids pass. If you ever meet recent grads from Western European countries, it’s clear that their level of education is held at a much higher standard. Here, we’re just happy if a 4th grader can spell “receive”” correctly and remember his times tables..

  • Jay

    Most Black and Hispanic kids don’t care about learning.
    All they care about is hanging out and having fun.

  • Billy Shears

    Reason: Mom and/or Dad: A. Are in jail B. are alcoholics.. C. Are illiterate
    D. are drug addicts/dealers E. Are having major financial difficulties F. Act out scenes of domestic violence in front of their children G.DO NOT SPEND ANY TIME HELPING THEIR CHILDREN WITH SCHOOLWORK H.Could care less about their childs performance in school. I The child is more worried about where his/her next meal is coming from.

    The problem is AT HOME BLOOMBERG!

    • FedUp

      You forgot that they can’t speak English either.. It’s kinda hard to help your kid with their homework when you can’t read the language..

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