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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott Announces More Students are Graduating High School Ready for College and Careers as Part of 2012-13 Progress Report Release for All Grades


College readiness measure jumps nearly 3 points from last year. New metric shows more students are also enrolling and persisting in college.

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today released the seventh annual Progress Reports for more than 1,600 New York City schools serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The reports award letter grades based on students’ progress, performance, and attendance, and surveys of parents, students, and teachers. The high school Progress Reports also measure the extent to which schools are preparing their students for success in college and the workforce. This year’s high school reports found that more students are graduating from high school ready for college and careers than ever before and that more students are enrolling and persisting in college. Elementary and middle school reports took into account the transition to State exams measuring the more rigorous Common Core standards for the first time. The Progress Report’s methodology has also been adjusted to account for Hurricane Sandy’s impact on schools Citywide.

“The most important job of our schools is ensuring students are on track to succeed in college and their careers,” said Chancellor Walcott. “These results are further evidence that the hard work of our teachers and principals is paying off.”

“Even as schools continued to transition to the more rigorous Common Core standards and dealt with unforeseen events, educators made great gains with students across the City. Our work to prepare students for the next level has resulted in more students than ever before graduating from high school ready for college,” said Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky. “These results underscore the resilience of our students, educators, and families.”

This year’s results show increases across all Progress Report measures of college readiness:

  • The four-year college readiness rate is up nearly 3 points since last year, from 28.6 percent in 2012 to 31.4 percent in 2013. Since 2005, the percent of students graduating college ready in four years has nearly doubled. 
  • 43.6 percent of the class of 2013 successfully completed courses and exams that will prepare them for college and careers, like Advanced Placement and SAT, compared to 39.5 percent the previous year. 
  • 49.7 percent of the class of 2012 enrolled in a two- or four-year college, vocational program, or public service program after graduation, compared to 48.8 percent of the previous cohort. 

This year’s high school Progress Report also includes a new metric that broadens the college readiness rate beyond test-based measures to give schools credit for students who enroll in college after graduation and work their way through at least three semesters. 47.6 percent of the class of 2011 were either college ready by graduation or persisted into their third semester within six years of graduating high school.

Last year, students in grades 3–8 took State exams that measured the Common Core Learning Standards for the first time. The new tests were far more rigorous than those given in previous years and challenged students to meet a higher bar for proficiency in reading and math, establishing a new baseline that measures whether they are on track for college and careers. To ensure that no school was penalized for the changes to the State exams during a year of ongoing transition to the new standards, the Progress Report controls for changes to the tests in two ways: first, schools continue to perform well on the Progress Report if their students’ performance and progress are higher relative to schools serving similar students. Each school’s proficiency is compared to that of other schools in 2013 only. Additionally, the distribution of elementary/middle/K-8 school grades remained fixed—the percentage of schools receiving low grades in 2013 will be consistent with prior years.

Hurricane Sandy caused destruction in many communities, interrupting school and displacing families. To account for this disruption to the school year, attendance rates have been adjusted for all schools, and a small number of severely impacted schools are not receiving a grade this year.

Other highlights include:

  • This year, performance of New York City public schools remained consistent, with 87 percent of schools maintaining their grade or moving one grade compared to last year. 
  • Charter schools and new schools continued to receive more A and B grades than schools overall. In particular, new high schools without academic screens dramatically outperformed high schools opened before 2002: 67 percent of new unscreened high schools earned an A or B this year, compared to 46 percent of older unscreened schools.
  • 442 schools received an A, 576 received a B, 459 received a C, 102 received a D, and 45 received an F. 

Every year, the NYCDOE refines the Progress Report by implementing changes to its methodology to better capture schools’ contributions to student learning. Over the past several school years the NYCDOE has also made adjustments to align Progress Report measures with changing local and national priorities focused on preparing students for college and careers. As this work continues, the NYCDOE is exploring further improvements to its accountability system, including integrating more qualitative assessments of student work (e.g., class projects and course grades), providing more flexibility to networks of schools to tailor measures that reflect their priorities, and making data more accessible and user-friendly for families.

Progress Reports for elementary, middle, kindergarten through eighth grade, and early childhood schools, as well as reports for high schools, transfer schools, Young Adult Borough Centers, and select District 75 schools, are now available on the Department of Education’s web site, along with each school’s Progress Report Overview, 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 work around support and intervention for struggling schools. 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.

Elementary and Middle Schools
Elementary and middle school Progress Reports give each school an overall letter grade based on three categories: student progress (60 percent), student performance (25 percent), and school environment (15 percent). The student progress component measures how well schools are helping students improve from one year to the next. The student performance section measures student proficiency in reading and math. For middle and K-8 schools, this component also includes the percentage of students who earned a passing grade in core academic courses (English, math, science, and social studies). The school environment section compiles the results of the NYC School Survey, taken by parents, teachers, and students in grade six and up at each school last spring, as well as student attendance rates. Schools can also earn additional credit by achieving exemplary gains with high-need students.

High Schools
High school Progress Reports award 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 section 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 types of diplomas their students earned. The school environment section includes NYC School Survey results and attendance rates. The college and career readiness section measures how well students are prepared for life after high school based on meeting CUNY’s standards for college readiness in English and math; enrolling in college, vocational programs, or entering public service after high school; passing advanced courses; and—for the first time this year—persisting early in college. Schools can also earn additional credit by achieving exemplary outcomes with high-need students.

Learn more about the Progress Report at: http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport. Information about other aspects of New York City’s accountability system is available at http://schools.nyc.gov/accountability.