News and Speeches

Chancellor Releases 2009 Progress Reports on Elementary, Middle, and K-8 Schools


Eighty-Four Percent of Schools Met Higher Standards to Earn an A by Helping Thousands More Students Make Progress

City Will Again Raise Minimum Score Required to Earn High Grade

    Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today released the third annual public school Progress Reports for 1,058 New York City elementary, middle, and K-8 schools. The reports give letter grades (A to F) to schools based on student academic achievement and progress as well as student attendance and the results of annual parent, teacher, and student surveys about schools' learning environments. Overall, grades improved dramatically this year even though the standard for earning an A or a B was higher than ever. A total of 84 percent of schools earned an A, up from 38 percent last year. A total of 13 percent of schools earned a B, while 2 percent earned a C, and less than 1 percent earned a D or an F. Eighty-eight percent of schools improved by at least one letter grade or maintained their A grade.

    These results reflect the fact that thousands more students made academic progress this year—27,000 more in reading, and 24,000 more in math. They also coincide with the State Education Department’s finding last week that a record number of New York City schools are meeting academic standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law. To ensure continued progress and encourage schools to meet even higher standards, the City will once again increase the minimum score required for schools to earn an A, B, C, or D.

    The Chancellor was joined at PS 189 in Manhattan by United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators Executive Vice President Peter McNally, and Principal Theresa Luger. The school has made steady progress over the past three years, and has made great strides in helping improve achievement among its English Language Learners and Special Education students. The percentage of all students meeting or exceeding standards has gone up 22 percentage points in reading and 16 percentage points in math since 2007. It earned a C in 2007, a B in 2008, and an A this year. PS 189 is located in District 6, where 97 percent of schools received an A this year.

    “Progress Reports have helped parents, principals, and teachers focus on what matters most about their schools: whether students are making the kind of academic progress that will put them on track to earn a high school diploma and become successful adults,” said Chancellor Klein. “That focus paid off this year as our schools helped thousands more students move forward in reading and math. I’m thrilled that so many schools earned an A by meeting the ambitious standards we set last year, but we still have a lot more work to do. These results mean 84 percent of our schools made great progress this year, not that 84 percent of our schools are perfect. We won’t be satisfied until we have 1,500 great schools.”

    “We can take pride in the fact that teachers, support staff, and other educators have always and will continue to work hard to ensure that students learn,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Their efforts have been tremendous, and with a new school year starting, we should use the momentum of this good news as a springboard to tackle other issues. There is so much more to be done in terms of lowering class sizes, raising graduation rates, and narrowing the achievement gap. We will continue to work with all parties—parents, the DOE, the State Education Department, the Board of Regents, and others—to help improve and support the work that goes on inside of the classroom.”

    “Thanks mainly to our school leaders, teachers and students, New York City Schools have seen significant progress on many levels over the past year, and these reports summarize various aspects of that progress,” said CSA Executive Vice President Peter McNally. “Progress is the key word here because these grades indicate recent improvements that constitute a journey towards becoming better and better and, hopefully, excellent schools.”

    “The entire PS 189 school community is very proud of the improved student outcomes we have achieved over the past three years,” said Principal Luger. “The information we get from the Progress Report and other accountability tools helps our teachers create instructional plans tailored to the unique needs of each student, so that all our students can meet the high expectations we set for them. Through our school improvement plan and the dedication of our entire staff, I believe we have developed the capacity to continue the progress we've made over the last several years.”

    Of the schools that received Progress Reports today, 889 received an A (84 percent), 142 received a B (13 percent), 20 received a C (2 percent), 5 received a D (less than 1 percent), and 2 received an F (less than 1 percent). Last year, 394 elementary, middle, and K-8 schools received an A (38 percent), 422 received a B (40 percent), 158 received a C (15 percent), 50 received a D (5 percent), and 18 received an F (2 percent). High school Progress Reports will be released later this fall.

    This year, 27,000 more students in grades 3-8 made at least a year’s worth of progress in reading—66 percent of all students, up from 59 percent last year. A total of 24,000 more students made at least a year’s worth of progress in math—69 percent of students, up from 62 percent last year. Average student proficiency in reading and math increased one tenth of a proficiency level—3.3 up from 3.2. Improvements of this magnitude have a significant impact on a student’s long-term academic success. This year’s performance means that, on average, students’ likelihood of graduating with a Regents diploma or higher went up by 6 percent. This kind of growth over several years would significantly raise the City’s graduation rate.

    More of the City’s highest-need students are catching up with their peers. A total of 1,500 more English Language Learners and 5,000 more special education students made a year and a half worth of progress this year than last year.

    Other notable results on this year's elementary, middle, and K-8 Progress Reports include:

  • A total of 122 schools have earned As all three years the Progress Reports have existed.
  • All but 3 of the 58 schools that earned a D or an F last year improved enough to earn an A or a B this year. The remaining three schools improved to a C.
  • Although the scale for the Progress Reports runs from 0 to 100, 48 schools earned a score above 100 by making exemplary progress with historically under-performing groups of students.
  • The three schools with the highest scores were PS 15 in the Bronx (108.5), PS 164 in Brooklyn (108), and PS 92 in Queens (106.6).
  • Every school in School District 25 in Queens earned an A.

Progress Report Methodology

    Progress Reports give each school an overall letter grade based on three categories: school environment (15 percent), student performance (25 percent), and student progress (60 percent). Each of those categories also receives an individual letter grade to better inform families about how schools are doing. “School environment” includes the results of surveys taken by more than 850,000 parents, students, and teachers last spring, as well as student attendance rates. “Student performance” measures actual student outcomes—whether elementary and middle school students are proficient in reading and math. “Student progress” measures how schools are helping students improve from one year to the next. Schools that do an exemplary job closing the racial and ethnic achievement gap can earn additional credit.

    Three-fourths of a school's Progress Report score comes from comparing the school's results to the 40 or so other schools in the City that serve the most similar student populations. The remaining one-fourth of a school's score is based on a comparison with all schools citywide that serve the same grade levels.

    Schools that earned Ds and Fs could face consequences that include leadership changes or closure based on a comprehensive review of their survey and Quality Review scores, last year's results, overall proficiency levels, the principal's length of service, and input from key officials.

    The Progress Reports for elementary, middle, and K-8 schools are available now on the Department of Education’s Web site.