New York City education officials released the results from state standardized tests on Wednesday, which showed math proficiency for public school students dropped, while the results for English depend on the age of the student.
The pandemic appears to have taken a toll on math skills for 3rd to 8th grade public schools students and on English skills for younger kids.
This year, education officials compared the state’s 2022 standardized test results taken during the last school year to 2019’s scores because the tests were not administered in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and testing was optional in 2021.
Compared to 2019, math scores in 2022 for students in grades 3-8 saw the steepest decline, with all grade levels experiencing poorer test results. Math proficiency is down 7.6%.
“I think a little bit with the math,” said Latch Man, whose granddaughter is a soporific at Hillcrest High School in Queens. “That’s the only subject she was a little bit behind.”
A grandfather said his granddaughter was among city students who fell behind in math, though she took it upon herself to go to summer school.
”She was very anxious,” he said. She wanted to gain that momentum.”
David Bloomfield is a professor of Education Leadership, Law & Policy at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center who said the math scores are concerning.
“Only a quarter of students in the 8th grade, which is the latest grade that we have test scores for, were able to be proficient in math,” Bloomed said. “That’s really worrisome.”
“No matter what the scores were five years ago, 65% of black and brown children were never achieve reading proficiency in the system,” New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said. “It’s a system that does not work well for far too many kids.”
Banks visited Hillcrest High — his alma mater — Wednesday to tout a new internship program. When asked about the test scores, he said, while he agrees that they are concerning, they’re not the only indicator of a student’s academic performance.
“And I would dare tell you the return on investment is not the scores they got on standardized exams,” Banks said. “It’s about their readiness to take their rightful place in the 21st-century economy. That’s what really matters.”
Results were mixed for English Language Arts (ELA) where overall ELA scores rose 1.6%. However, a closer look shows students in grades 6-8 saw their ELA scores rise, while students in grades 3-5 saw their ELA scores drop.
While Bloomfield was surprised to see any rise in ELA scores, he believes students in higher grades did better than those in lower grades because younger students who were learning to read needed more support during the pandemic and did not get it.
“There is a concern that kids in lower grades who are trying to learn to read really did not do well on these tests,” he said. “But let’s hope that they can make that up.”
If the man’s granddaughter provides any indication, they can. He believes, whether it’s his granddaughter or other students, it’s largely up to parents and guardians to make sure students thrive in school.
“All in all, I think encouragement and staying abreast of what your children, what they’re doing, their actions, their ways, all of these things count,” he said.
It is not possible to compare the city test scores to other districts statewide. Unlike in previous years, the state has not yet released those results, and it has not yet said when that will happen.