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City test scores are mixed

ELA numbers up, math down on state exams
New York Teacher

The results of New York State’s standardized tests from spring 2022 showed the pandemic took a toll on math education in New York City public schools that was in line with a national trend, even as student reading scores improved slightly in contrast to the declines elsewhere.

Since the 2020 tests were canceled due to the pandemic and the 2021 tests were optional, the DOE compared this year’s scores with the results from spring 2019. The math scores showed just 37.9% of student test-takers in grades 3 to 8 were proficient in the subject, a 7.6 percentage-point drop from 2019. The dropoff was greatest among 8th-graders: 25% were proficient, 11 percentage points less than in 2019. It was least among 3rd-graders: 48.4% were at Level 3 or Level 4, compared with 53.2% at a proficient level in 2019.

Student achievement on the English language arts exam improved by 1.6%, from 47.4% proficiency in 2019 to 49% proficiency this year. Students in grades 3-5 were less proficient than three years earlier, while those in the higher grades did better than in 2019. The biggest drop was among 4th-graders, with proficiency declining from 49.6% in 2019 to 43.6% in 2022. The greatest improvement was among 7th-graders, with 52.6% of test-takers reaching Level 3 or Level 4, compared with 42.7% in 2019.

The top achievement rate on the reading test was among 6th-graders, with 56.3% rated proficient, a 7.9 percentage-point jump from the test three years earlier.

Improvement in ELA among Asian students outpaced the gains of white, Black and Hispanic students, and the decline in math scores was less among Asian students than in the other three groups.

Students with higher needs continued to struggle on these exams. Among students with disabilities, 18.3% were rated proficient in reading and 14.4% were proficient in math. Among English language learners, 12.7% scored at Level 3 or 4 in reading, while 15% rated proficient in math.

New York City’s test results were broadly in keeping with the nationwide trends as recorded on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card. In the test’s first results since the pandemic began, just 26% of 8th-graders nationwide were proficient in math, an 8 percentage-point drop from 2019, while 36% of 4th-graders were proficient in the subject, down from 41% in 2019. Reading scores also dipped in more than half the states, with roughly a third of 4th- and 8th-graders nationwide proficient in reading.

“Our members in schools have been speaking up for the past two years about what our students need to recover from the disruptions and trauma of this pandemic. Educators have stepped up,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “The city now needs to restore school budgets and move aggressively to put in place the lower class sizes that are now part of state law.”

Grade 2022 #Tested 2022 %L3+4 2019 %L3+4 PCT Point Diff.
3 50,967 49.2 53.3 −4.0
4 53,196 43.6 49.6 −6.0
5 54,122 39.0 39.8 −0.8
6 53,390 56.3 48.4 +7.9
7 55,650 52.6 42.7 +9.9
8 55,395 53.1 50.6 +2.5
All 322,720 49.0 47.4 +1.6
Grade 2022 #Tested 2022 %L3+4 2019 %L3+4 PCT Point Diff.
3 52,450 48.4 53.2 −4.8
4 54,356 41.9 49.4 −7.5
5 54,664 37.7 46.1 −8.4
6 53,323 34.1 43.9 −9.9
7 54,853 36.0 42.1 −6.2
8 33,810 25.0 36.0 −11.0
All 303,456 37.9 45.6 −7.6
Source: Department of Education

These charts show New York City public school students’ results on the state ELA and math exams for grades 3 through 8 this year and in 2019, the last time the tests were given.

Related Topics: Testing