Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña Champion Significant Citywide Gains for NYC Students on State Exams

August 1, 2016

Results improve across all 32 Community School Districts in every borough

For the first time, City students close the gap with the rest of New York State on English exams

Majority of Renewal Schools make progress

Black and Latino students making progress, fewer scoring at lowest proficiency level

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced New York City students’ substantial gains on State English and math exams. English results increased in each of the City’s 32 Community School Districts across all five boroughs. The percentage of students reading at grade level in New York City has now increased by 44 percent over the past three years.

“Our public schools are a cornerstone of New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These results represent important progress and outline real improvements across each borough of our City. We congratulate our students, families and devoted educators for this critical step forward. We remain focused on building on these gains and others – such as the highest-ever high school graduation rate – to deliver equity and excellence for every public school student across the City, no matter their zip code.”

“We have seen incredible improvement on these exams, and it’s so important that we’ve seen it in every single school district – a testament not only to the hard work of students, but the importance of having strong educators at the helm: our superintendents, principals and teachers,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Since day one as Chancellor, I’ve focused on strengthening literacy instruction, and our students and educators should be proud of the increased scores in every grade, across every district in every borough. In addition to the increases in proficiency, we saw a substantial decrease in students scoring at the lowest proficiency level – particularly black and Hispanic students; these students are making real progress towards becoming proficient. There’s so much work to do to build on this progress, and through the Equity and Excellence agenda, we’ll continue to strengthen elementary and middle-school ELA and Math instruction and achievement. We have much to celebrate today but no time to slow down. I look forward to working together with students, families and educators to build on these essential accomplishments.”

“Congratulations to Chancellor Farina and her team and all of New York’s principals, teachers, support staff, parents and students. Our city and state are making progress in providing a real education for all of our students. We need to keep fighting for adequate and fair funding to ensure these gains continue to enhance the lives of our children,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Committee on Education.

"Our schools continue to move in the right direction," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education. "These improvements are a result of the city's considerable investment in public education over the past two and a half years. I celebrate these gains and will continue to work with the administration to build upon them."

"New York City is seeing positive trends in education statistics, a clear sign that the more comprehensive approach to our schools employed by the de Blasio administration is working," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "Of course, as the Department of Education knows, tests are not the only measure of a students' success and learning. That's why we continue to see more innovative approaches to teaching and learning by our great teachers, ensuring more well-rounded students. We must continue this positive work so that more of our students are fully prepared for college upon graduation and I know our city is up to the task.”

"New York City public school test scores are getting better as we strive to have the best schools," said Council Member Ben Kallos a public high school graduate. "Thank you to the leadership of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina in improving public school education and test scores."

For the first time since standardized testing was put in place for all grades, City students have now eliminated the gap with their New York State peers in English. As the City has given unprecedented support to historically underserved students and schools, Renewal Schools also made progress. Additionally, the percentage of black and Hispanic students scoring at Level 1 (the lowest level of proficiency) dropped significantly more than their white peers.

In 2016, 38.0 percent of students met proficiency standards in English, a 7.6 point increase from 30.4 percent last year. This is the best performance improvement by City students since 2009 and one of the largest since standardized testing was initiated. Additionally, the number of students scoring at Level 1 across New York City has decreased by over 26,000 students in English. 36.4 percent of students met the standards in math, a 1.2 point increase from 35.2 percent last year. New York City students’ proficiency in both subjects improved across all ethnic groups.

Under this administration, all superintendents were required to re-apply for their jobs to ensure they were the strongest community and instructional leaders, and this year exam results improved across all 32 of the Community Superintendents’ districts in English, and in 28 districts in math. The City has invested in high-quality, Common Core-aligned professional development and resources for educators to strengthen instruction. In addition to 80 minutes of high-quality professional development each week for teachers across all subjects, efforts have focused on improving literacy instruction and intervention in early elementary years, particularly in the critical 2nd grade year. These have included new vocabulary resources; citywide professional development sessions attended by thousands of educators; as well as tools to identify struggling students and targeted supports for them one-to-one tutoring and small-group instruction. State English exam scores went up by over 10 points each for 3rd and 4th graders, far outpacing the overall gains – these are students who were in 2nd grade under this administration, and impacted by the focus on that grade level.

Key Findings

  • A higher percentage of New York City students now read at grade level than in the rest of the State outside the City, the first time this has been true since standardized testing was put in place for all grades in 2006.
  • The improvement in the performance of City students in English substantially exceeded the rest of the State (an increase of 7.6 points in students at grade level versus 6.6 points), continuing a trend that has led the share of City students reading at grade level to rise by 44 percent over the past three years.
  • New York City students also slightly outgained students in the rest of the state in math (increasing the number at grade level by 1.2 percent versus 1.0 percent).
  • The percentage of New York City students reading at the lowest level fell by 6.5 points, one of the largest improvements in years, including dropping 8.7 points among Black students and 7.4 points among Hispanic students, helping to reduce the achievement gaps in ELA.
  • The share of students reaching proficiency in math in New York City has grown by 23 percent over the past three years.
  • Renewal Schools grew slightly faster than other City schools in math, but grew slightly less rapidly in reading, although 59 of the 63 Renewal Schools tested improved in reading.
  • Fewer than 3 percent of New York City students opted out of the testing process.

Overall Results by Grade:

English increases were highest in 3rd and 4th grades, following the City’s focus on early literacy instruction and intervention since January 2014. We are building on this work with the Equity and Excellence Universal Literacy initiative – by the 2018 school year, every elementary school will receive support from a reading coach to ensure all students are reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade.

The only grade-level decrease was 5th-grade math, which is at the center of the Equity and Excellence Algebra for All initiative. Elementary schools have been encouraged to “departmentalize” 5th-grade math – having their math instruction led by one or multiple teachers with expertise in math instruction who receive additional intensive training. About 75 schools across the City are receiving training this spring and summer to departmentalize this fall.

ELA Math

Grade

2016 # Tested

% 2016 L3+4

% 2015 L3+4

Pct Point Diff.

Grade

2016 # Tested

% 2016 L3+4

% 2015 L3+4

Pct Point Diff.

3

71,055

40.9

30.2

10.7

3

72,414

41.0

38.5

2.5

4

69,426

41.4

31.3

10.1

4

70,677

41.4

39.1

2.3

5

67,536

34.1

29.7

4.4

5

68,702

37.5

40.9

-3.4

6

63,880

34.7

30.0

4.7

6

65,054

36.9

35.5

1.4

7

64,549

36.0

28.2

7.8

7

65,371

34.0

32.5

1.5

8

64,493

40.5

32.9

7.6

8

54,762

25.0

22.5

2.6

All

400,939

38.0

30.4

7.6

All

396,980

36.4

35.2

1.2

NOTE: A change in State testing policy, starting in 2014, has driven a decrease in eighth grade proficiency rates. To reduce double testing, most students in accelerated math who took the Algebra Regents exam are exempt from taking the 8th grade State math assessment.

Overall Results by Demographic:

ELA Math

Demographic Subgroup

2016 # Tested

% 2016 L3+4

% 2015 L3+4

Pct Point Diff.

Demographic Subgroup

2016 # Tested

% 2016 L3+4

% 2015 L3+4

Pct Point Diff.

Asian

68,053

59.2

52.5

6.7

Asian

67,282

67.8

67.4

0.4

Black

95,012

26.6

19.0

7.6

Black

92,910

20.0

19.1

0.9

Hispanic

164,681

27.2

19.8

7.4

Hispanic

165,326

24.3

23.7

0.7

White

64,147

58.9

51.3

7.5

White

62,537

57.8

56.7

1.1

ELL

45,507

4.4

4.4

0.0

ELL

53,525

13.0

14.6

-1.6

SWD

87,119

9.3

6.9

2.4

SWD

86,240

11.4

11.3

0.1

Overall Results by Level 1’s:

The decrease in Level 1 scores was strongest among black and Latino students. On the English exam, the percentage of black and Latino students scoring at Level 1 decreased 8.7 and 7.4 points respectively, while the percentage of white and Asian students scoring at Level 1 decreased by 3.5 percent and 3.1 percent respectively. On the math exam, the percentage of black and Hispanic students scoring at Level 1 decreased 1.0 and 0.5 points respectively, while the percentage of white and Asian students scoring at Level 1 increased by 0.1 and 0.2 points respectively.

English Math

 

2016 # Tested

% 2016 Level 1

% 2015 Level 1

Pct Point Diff.

 

2016 # Tested

% 2016 Level 1

% 2015 Level 1

Pct Point Diff.

Asian

68,053

13.3

16.4

-3.1

Asian

67,282

10.6

10.4

    0.2

Black

95,012

34.3

43.0

-8.7

Black

92,910

46.5

47.5

-1.0

Hispanic

164,681

34.2

41.6

-7.4

Hispanic

165,326

40.7

41.2

-0.5

White

64,147

13.7

17.2

-3.5

White

62,537

15.6

15.5

0.1

Overall Results for Renewal Schools:
Students at the 63 Renewal Schools serving elementary and middle school grades made progress this year. Proficiency on the State English exam increased 5.3 percentage points, while proficiency on the State math exam increased 1.5 percentage points. Overall, English exam proficiency increased at 59 of these 63 schools, while proficiency on the math exam increased at 40 of the 63.

The progress at Renewal Schools reflects targeted, unprecedented support to strengthen instruction and achievement. In addition to social services and social-emotional and mental health supports, there is an hour of extended learning time at every Renewal School every day, enabling schools to deepen instruction and deliver targeted intervention in core subjects. Many Renewal Schools have also employed new curricula designed to strengthen students’ literacy, writing and math skills; and all Renewal Schools receive targeted instructional support from their Director of School Renewal and the DOE, as well as professional development on using data to identify and address the challenges of struggling students. Renewal Schools have also hired experienced teacher leaders to support their colleagues.

A number of Community School Districts outperformed the average gains on both the English and math exams: District 4 in East Harlem; District 7 in the South Bronx; Districts 13, 14, 16, 17, and 22 in Brooklyn; and District 25 in Flushing.

Among more than 400,000 students in grades 3-8, less than three percent “opted out” of either the English or math State exam. 2.4 percent of students opted out of the English exam, while 2.8 percent of students opted out of the math exam. The total number is 12,999 students compared to 7,904 last year.

The City is committed to building on this progress with the Equity and Excellence agenda for all New York City public schools, first laid out by Mayor de Blasio last September. These reforms will move the City towards a vision where, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time, two-thirds of graduates are college-ready, and all students are reading at grade level in 2nd grade. The eight initiatives that comprise the Equity and Excellence agenda are: Universal Literacy, Algebra for All, AP for All, Computer Science for All, College Access for All – Middle School, College Access for All – High School, Single Shepherd and District-Charter Partnerships.

In 2016, New York State exams had fewer questions, and did not have a time limit for students as long as they were working productively. These were adjustments made to better allow students to demonstrate their true proficiency and reduce stress, and the State and City will continue to focus on improving student learning and meeting the whole needs of every child. The State English and math exams are one of many measures to assess students’ academic progress and critical thinking.

Parents can learn more about the tests at NYSED’s EngageNY website, and can view their child’s test results on their NYC Schools account – a parent-friendly platform for viewing a student’s records on any Internet-ready device, including mobile phones. Parents who have not already registered for an account at their child’s school and would like to view their child’s results before the start of the school year can visit their school if a summer program is in session or the office of their community superintendent. Interpretation services will be provided. A full list of the superintendents and their office addresses is available here. More information on NYC test score results is available here.

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