News and Speeches

City Students Make Gains on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Tests

11/15/2007

City’s Black Students Lead Peers in Large Urban Districts in 4th-Grade Reading and Math


City Students Near Nationwide Average in 4th-Grade Math


Click here to view detailed NAEP results.

    New York City students made impressive gains on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests, with particularly significant progress achieved by 4th graders in mathematics compared to their peers in other cities and by Black 4th-grade students in both reading and math. Overall, 79% of New York City 4th graders performed at or above basic levels of achievement on the math exam, nearly equaling the 81% average nationally. This performance represents a six percentage point gain since 2005, and a nearly 12 percentage point gain since 2003, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein introduced the Children First reforms. New York City 8th graders also made progress in math, with 57% performing at or above basic levels of achievement, an increase of three percentage points from the NAEP exam in 2005, when it was last given. 

    Although the achievement gap among ethnic groups remains large, this year’s NAEP math results reflect New York City’s significant progress in narrowing that gap. The City’s Black and Hispanic 4th graders outperformed similar students in “large central” cities (cities with a population of 250,000 and above) nationwide, and among the 11 urban districts—including New York City—that participated in the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). In 4th grade, 72% of the City’s Black students scored at or above basic levels in math, a gain of 14 percentage points since 2003. By comparison, 58% of 4th-grade Black students in other large central cities and 63% nationally scored at or above basic levels in math. Black 4th-grade students ranked second among their peers in TUDA districts in both their level of achievement and gains in math.

    Additionally, 74% of Hispanic 4th graders achieved at or above basic levels in math, a 14 percentage point gain since 2002. By comparison, 66% of Hispanics in other large central cities and 69% nationally scored at or above basic levels. Hispanic 4th-grade students ranked fifth among their peers in TUDA districts in their level of achievement and third in gains. 

    “These national test results confirm that our reforms have helped raise performance to an historically high level,” Chancellor Klein said. “In the fourth grade, our students showed exciting progress in math. New York City’s Black 4th graders outperformed their peers across the nation, helping to bring the City’s overall performance nearly equal to the national average—an achievement that would have been unthinkable less than a decade ago.

    “These gains are a tribute to the hard work of our school leaders, their teachers and staff members, and especially our students and their families, but we recognize that we have a long way to go in improving achievement for all students, particularly for those in the middle school grades. As we implement our middle school initiative, invest more in middle schools through our Fair Student Funding budget formula, and use more sophisticated diagnostic assessments in the classroom, we expect to build on and accelerate the progress our students have achieved to date.” 

    In reading, 57% of 4th graders performed at or above basic levels, representing a gain of 10 percentage points since 2002. Additionally, 25% of New York City 4th graders performed at or above proficiency levels on the exam, an increase of nearly six percentage points since 2002. The percent of 4th-grade students achieving at or above basic levels on the reading exam remained stable since 2005 despite a policy change that resulted in a substantial increase in the percentage of English language learners taking the exam. English language learners represented 15% of 4th grade test-takers in 2007, compared with 8% in 2005. Among TUDA districts, the percentage of New York City 4th graders achieving at or above basic levels ranked third, with the City’s Black 4th graders again leading the way. Fifty-one percent of Black 4th-grade students scored at or above basic levels in reading, a 14 percentage point gain since 2002. Black 4th-grade students ranked first among their peers in TUDA districts in both their level of achievement and gains in reading. 

    Among 8th graders, 59% of City students achieved at or above basic levels in reading, a 2% decrease compared with 2005. Among TUDA districts, New York City had the highest percentage of 8th-grade low-income students achieving at or above proficiency levels (17%), outperforming their peers in other large central cities (12%) and in the nation (15%). Similarly, more of the City’s low-income 8th graders (56%) achieved at or above basic levels in reading than those in large central cities overall (52%), while performing two percentage points below the national average (58%).

    NAEP, often referred to as “the nation’s report card,” is the nation’s ongoing representative sample survey of student achievement in core subject areas and reports the educational progress of students in grades 4, 8, and 12. Mandated by Congress, NAEP is administered by the United States Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Eleven cities varying in demographic makeup, including New York City, participate in the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment by allowing their results to be reported publicly. The results for this year’s 4th and 8th-grade tests were released in Washington, D.C. this morning.


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Contact: David Cantor / Andrew Jacob (212) 374-5141