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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bronx test scores lag behind rest of city

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

Students in the Bronx and the rest of New York City saw slight improvements on state testing this year, according to data released by the state Education Department this month.

On Aug. 14, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that proficiency in both math and English in the 2013-2014 school year rose compared to the previous year, when the state made exams much more challenging in an effort to align with Common Core standards.

In math, 34.2 percent of students this year received scores indicating proficiency, up from 29.6 percent in 2012-2013. On the English tests, that number rose by two percent, from 26.4 percent to 28.4 percent.

This year scores in the Bronx fell below the city’s average, with fewer than 20 percent of students scoring at proficiency level on third through eighth grade English tests. In math, at least 20 percent of students passed tests in grades three through six, but scores dropped in grades seven and eight.

Surveying the citywide landscape, officials were upbeat about the modest increases in light of complaints about Common Core.

“From the feedback I was getting from schools, from teachers and parents, that were looking at really bad outcomes due to the implementation of Common Core, I think it’s pretty good that they’re making those improvements,” said Marvin Shelton, president of District 10’s Community Education Council (CEC). 

Ms. Fariña said the improvements are a result of the efforts the Department of Education has taken to make sure students are prepared for Common Core aligned tests, though she added that their efforts are in the early stages. 

“The Department has redoubled its efforts, and with this much stronger focus on professional development and instructional practice, student outcomes will continue to improve, leading to greater college and career readiness as we move forward,” she said in a statement.

Scores improved in each student demographic group, though proficiency for black and Hispanic students still fell below the state’s overall proficiency rates in both English and math. 

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