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PR- 188-05
May 18, 2005


4th Graders Achieve Nearly 10 Point Gain and Highest Percentage Meeting or Exceeding Standards Since Testing Began; Highest Gains Achieved by Students in Lowest-Performing Regions; New $40 Million Intervention Strategy for Middle Schools Also Announced

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the highest one-year gains ever achieved by New York City public school students on the State 4th Grade English Language Arts (ELA) exam. The number of 4th Graders meeting or exceeding standards this year increased to 59.5% – nearly 10 percentage points up from last year, and the highest percentage since testing began in 1999. The record increase includes the achievement of the highest gains in the City by students in the five lowest-performing Regions, significant gains by Black and Hispanic 4th graders and impressive results among students who participated in the Summer Success Academy for 3rd Grade students who were in danger of not earning promotion.  While 4th Grade achievement on the state ELA exam increased more than ever before, 8th Grade decreased by 2.8 percentage points.  The Mayor and Chancellor announced the results at P.S. 33 in the Bronx, where the percentage of 4th Grade students meeting or exceeding standards more than doubled from 36.7% in 2004 to 83.4% this year – the second highest gain of any City school.

“I’m pleased to announce the highest one-year gains and highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards since testing began in 1999 ever achieved by City students on the State’s 4th Grade English Language Arts exam,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through a strong core curriculum, focused intervention programs, and our Summer Success Academy, we’ve helped students who were on course to fail and steered them onto a path to success.  We’ve shown just what can be accomplished when you set high standards for students and give them the extra help they need to meet those standards.  I congratulate the principals, teachers, parents and students on this remarkable achievement.”

“The tremendous gains by our Black and Hispanic students and by our students in the City's lowest-performing Regions demonstrate that the core curriculum, coaches, new interventions, and professional development for teachers really are paying off for those who were previously left behind,” said Chancellor Klein. “While we still have a long way to go, it is evident that when principals, teachers, and parents all work together, those children who have not received a quality education in the past can learn effectively and achieve at high standards.  I encourage each and every one of our students to keep working hard, and thank our principals for their strong leadership, our teachers for their dedication, and our parents for their involvement.  And I look forward to continuing to improve student learning and achievement across all grades and all schools throughout our City.”

This year, New York City public school students in 4th Grade achieved the highest one-year gain ever on the State ELA exam, with 59.5% of all 4th Graders meeting or exceeding standards (i.e., achieving Levels 3 and 4) in 2005 as compared to 49.6% in 2004.  In addition, the City recorded its lowest number ever of 4th Grade students – 5,240 students, or 7.8% – achieving at Level 1, down from 8.6% last year.

While all of the City’s 10 Regions achieved gains on the 4th Grade State ELA exam, 4th Graders in the lowest-performing Regions, where less than half of all students met standards in 2004, achieved the highest one-year gains.  Specifically, students in Region 1 achieved a 16.9 percentage point increase (to 52.6%); students in Region 10 achieved an 11 percentage point increase (to 49.5%); students in Region 2 achieved a 9.3 percentage point increase (to 49.5%); students in Region 5 achieved a 12.5 percentage point increase (to 58.0%); and students in Region 8 achieved a 9.3 percentage point increase (to 58.0%).  Each of these Regions serves predominantly Black and Hispanic students.

As part of students’ success Citywide, significant achievement gains by Black and Hispanic 4th graders continued to help close the achievement gap among 4th Graders in the City.  Hispanic 4th graders achieved 11.5 percentage point gains and Black 4th Graders achieved 9.7 percentage point gains, with White and Asian 4th graders achieving gains of 6.5 and 6.4 percentage points respectively.  These results represent the highest one-year achievement gains on the State ELA exam for Black and Hispanic 4th graders, and mark the first time since these tests were administered in 1999 that over half of Black (51.0 percent) and Hispanic (52.6 percent) 4th grade students met or exceeded ELA standards.

Today’s results also demonstrate the success of the new Summer Success Academy and promotion policy for 3rd Graders who were in danger of not earning promotion last year. 89.1% of last year’s 3rd Graders who were subject to the promotion policy and then earned promotion based on the summer tests achieved the Level 2 promotion standard or higher this year in 4th Grade.

In 8th Grade, 32.8 % of New York City public school students achieved Level 3 or 4 in 2005, a decline of 2.8 percentage points from 2004. However, as in 4th Grade, the percentage of 8th Grade students achieving at Level 1 declined to an all-time low this year – 7,596 students, or 10.4% compared to 11.4% in 2004 – indicating improvement among the City’s lowest-performing students.

In order to improve middle school performance, the DOE is creating a new $40 million middle school intervention strategy to supplement the work currently being done for high-need schools and at-risk students.  The new strategy will expand the Saturday Prep Academy into the middle schools to serve at-risk students; provide middle schools with targeted funding for a range of tools to support struggling students – from adolescent literacy intervention programs like Ramp Up, Wilson, and Read 180 to new intervention specialists to additional training for teachers to guidance counselors and support academic intervention teams in targeted middle schools, modeled after those working successfully in elementary schools.

“When we ended social promotion in the 3rd Grade last year, it was a drastic but necessary change.  It is necessary that we be honest about who is learning and who isn’t. Today’s results are a lesson that we need to confront our problems, not cover them up or gloss over them. And when we do that, and focus our resources and our energies on our students, great things can happen,” concluded Mayor Bloomberg.


Edward Skyler/Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958


Jerry Russo   (DOE)
(212) 374-5141

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