NYC Test Scores: Approximately 50% Achieve Proficiency in Reading and Math, according to Data

About half of the third through eighth graders in New York City performed well in reading and math, as per the state test scores released by city officials on Wednesday.

These scores offer an initial glimpse into student performance under the newly revised learning standards. State officials redesigned the tests for the previous academic year. Administered by schools statewide each spring, these tests serve as one indicator of how well students are doing.

While 51.7% of the city’s third through eighth graders were deemed on track based on their reading exam scores, and 49.9% were on track for math, there were variations in student performance across different grade levels.

For instance, eighth graders fared worse on math exams, with only 42.3% achieving proficiency, compared to 55% of third graders.

On the other hand, in reading, the situation was the opposite. Nearly 59.9% of eighth graders were considered on track, as opposed to approximately 48% of third graders.

In a statement on Wednesday, schools Chancellor David Banks found the results “encouraging” and highlighted the “upward trajectory” from the previous year’s exams, which saw around 49% of students pass reading tests and roughly 38% achieve proficiency in math.

Banks stated, “These results indicate that we are moving in the right direction. We are making progress in recovering from the pandemic, and we will continue to build on this success in the years to come.”

However, state officials cautioned against comparing this data to previous years, and the city’s Education Department acknowledged in a press release that the results were not “directly comparable.”

During the previous spring, students took new exams based on the Next Generation Learning Standards, which were established following revisions to the controversial Common Core. The state also set new benchmarks to gauge student proficiency, which delayed the public release of the test scores.

David Bloomfield, an educational leadership, law, and policy professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, criticized the city’s interpretation of the results as “nonsensical.”

In an email, Bloomfield stated, “They need to review their math skills. The lack of comparability means this snapshot cannot be placed in historical context.”

Nevertheless, despite the changes in the exams, disparities in student performance persist.

Around 77.6% of Asian American students and 70.2% of white students demonstrated proficiency in their math exams, compared to 34.3% of Black students and 35.7% of Latino students. In reading tests, 72.3% of Asian American students and 69.5% of white students were on track, while 40.3% of Black students and 39.4% of Latino students met the same criteria.

Among students with disabilities, 21.7% showed proficiency in reading and 24.4% in math. Among students learning English as a new language, 11.1% were on track in reading and 21.5% in math.