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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott Releases 2012 High School Progress Reports


Reports recognize high schools that successfully prepare students for college and career

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today released the sixth annual Progress Reports for more than 500 New York City high schools, transfer high schools and Young Adult Borough Centers. The reports award letter grades to schools based on student progress toward graduation, performance on standardized tests and coursework, and student attendance, as well as surveys of parents, students, and teachers about their schools. For the first time, the reports measure how many students in each high school take and perform well in advanced courses, graduate ready for college, and enroll in a college or other postsecondary program. As in previous years, schools received additional credit for progress made with students with disabilities, English language learners, and black and Hispanic males who entered high school struggling academically.

“Our high schools play an important role in student outcomes beyond K-12,” said Chancellor Walcott. “By measuring how well our schools prepare students for college and careers, the Progress Reports shine a light on the importance of increased rigor as a bridge to future success.”

“Our high schools are rising to the challenge of more rigorous standards and diploma requirements,” said Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky. “The Progress Reports show that more students are taking rigorous courses in high school and graduating ready for college.”

Although individual schools’ grades were generally stable, 7 percent more high schools earned As and Bs and 4 percent fewer schools received Ds and Fs compared to last year.  The average score increased by 1.8 points, as over 5,000 more students received Regents diplomas.  This year, 34 percent of high schools, transfer high schools and Young Adult Borough Centers received an A, 38 percent received a B, 21 percent received a C, 5 percent received a D, and 2 percent received an F. In 2011, 33 percent received an A, 32 percent received a B, 24 percent received a C, 8 percent received a D, and 4 percent received an F. Other highlights include:

  • 142 schools received an A, 159 schools received a B, 88 schools received a C, 21 schools received a D, and 10 schools received an F.
  • 95 new schools, schools that did not yet have a graduating class, and schools phasing out received reports with no grades.
  • Grades remained stable for individual schools, as 95 percent of schools maintained the same grade or changed by one grade from 2011; 99 percent of schools were within two grades from 2011.
  • Among all City schools that received grades this year, including early childhood, elementary, K-8, middle, high, District 75, transfer schools, and Young Adult Borough Centers, the grade distribution was: 28 percent As, 36 percent Bs, 28 percent Cs, 6 percent Ds, and 2 percent Fs.
  • New high schools opened since 2002 and charter high schools continue to outperform other high schools, and the trend is more pronounced when comparing schools with unscreened seats. This year, 34 percent of high schools with unscreened seats that opened in 2002 or later received an A, compared to 22 percent of schools with unscreened seats opened before 2002.

For the first time, readiness for college and careers is included in the score and grade.  This new section is comprised of three metrics: students passing rigorous college preparatory courses in high school (College and Career Preparatory Course Index), students graduating who have surpassed the threshold for college remediation according to the standards set by the City University of New York (College Readiness Index), and students enrolling in college or other postsecondary institutions (Postsecondary Enrollment Rate). In addition, schools earn points for the college and career readiness of students within the lowest third of proficiency citywide.

As part of the Department of Education’s increased focus on rigorous instruction in the classroom, the College and Career Preparatory Course Index (CCPCI) recognizes schools for offering approved rigorous college preparatory classes such as Advanced Placement and college credit-bearing courses. In addition, 52 courses were certified as college-ready by the DOE based on a quantitative and qualitative review that included analysis of the college outcomes of a school’s former students and a review of student work. For example, students at Harry S. Truman High School examine literature through multiple critical lenses aimed at college-level discourse in English 5-6 Honors.  In this course, students are encouraged to build higher-level written and verbal communication skills while challenging assumptions about the world around them.  In another example, students at Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School advance their technical knowledge and skills in preparation for college course work in engineering, information technology, math, and science in partnership with Cisco’s CCNA Exploration curriculum.  Finally, students who take English 12 at East Side Community School learn to read, write, and debate about canonical texts, such as Greek tragedies and plays by Shakespeare and Arthur Miller.

Progress Reports for high schools, transfer high schools, and Young Adult Borough Centers are now available on the Department of Education’s web site, along with Progress Report Overviews, which are designed to explain highlights of each school’s report to families.

Progress Report Methodology

The Progress Report measures students’ year-to-year progress, compares schools with similar student populations, and recognizes success in moving all students forward toward college and career readiness, especially those with the greatest needs. The Progress Report is designed to differentiate among schools in a way that provides educators with performance data, supports parents in choosing schools, and informs the Department of Education’s school intervention and support decisions. The methodology takes into account the different challenges schools face so that the evaluations are a reflection of what the school contributes to the student, not what the student brings to the school.

High School Progress Reports give each school an overall letter grade based on four categories: student progress (55 percent), student performance (20 percent), school environment (15 percent), and college and career readiness (10 percent). The student progress component measures how well schools are helping students progress toward graduation by earning course credits and passing Regents exams. The student performance component measures graduation outcomes and rewards schools based on the rigor of the diplomas students receive. The school environment component compiles the results of surveys taken by parents, students, and teachers at each school last spring, as well as student attendance rates. The college and career readiness component measures how well students are prepared for life after high school based on passing advanced courses, meeting higher English and math standards, and enrolling in a post-secondary institution. Schools can also earn additional credit by achieving exemplary outcomes with high-need students.

Seventy-five percent 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 25 percent of a school’s score is based on a comparison with all schools Citywide that serve the same grade levels. High schools are graded based on scoring targets that have been constant since 2010.

The Progress Report is one of several measures that make up the City’s accountability system for schools. The Quality Review consists of an observation conducted by an experienced educator, evaluating how well a school is organized to educate its students. The annual School Survey, which factors into the Progress Report, received responses from over 967,000 parents, students, and teachers about the academic expectations, communications, level of engagement, and degree of safety and respect at their schools.

Learn more about the Progress Report at: http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport. Information about other aspects of the City’s accountability system is available at: http://schools.nyc.gov/accountability. Parents who have signed up for NYCDOE’s texting service will receive a reminder that Progress Reports are available online. Sign up by texting “nycschools” to 877 877.