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PR- 400-07
November 5, 2007


Each School Receives a Letter Grade from "A" to "F" Based on Student Outcomes and Parent, Teacher, and Student Surveys

Reports Available Online and Distributed This Month at Parent-Teacher Conferences

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today released the first-ever Progress Reports on the City's public schools. The reports give each school a letter grade-A, B, C, D, or F-based on the academic achievement and progress of students as well as the results of surveys taken by parents, students, and teachers last spring.  These Progress Reports are the centerpiece of the City's effort to arm educators with the information and authority they need to lead their schools and to hold them accountable for student outcomes. The reports also provide parents with detailed information about school performance, both to hold their schools accountable and to inform family decisions.  The Mayor and Chancellor were joined at P.S. 19 in Manhattan by Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott and Principal Ivan Kushner.

"Information is power, which is why we're committed to providing clear, comprehensive information about our schools to educators and to families," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With these Progress Reports, parents no longer have to navigate a maze of statistics to determine how their child's school is doing and how it compares to others. And our educators now have a new tool to help them see exactly where their school need improvement and find similar schools that could help them do it."

Using the Department of Education's (DOE's) new Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS), educators can easily identify schools similar to theirs and learn from those schools' successes in specific areas.   Each school's grade is based on its score in three categories:  school environment (15%), student performance (30%), and student progress (55%). "School environment" includes the results of surveys taken by parents, students, and teachers last spring, as well as student attendance rates. The "student performance" category measures actual student outcomes-whether elementary and middle school students are proficient in reading and math and whether high school students are graduating. "Student progress" has the highest weight because it measures how schools are helping students improve year-to-year-gains in reading and math proficiency for elementary and middle school students, and credit accumulation and Regents exam pass rates for high school students. Schools that do an exemplary job closing the achievement gap can earn additional credit.

"Schools can't improve without first knowing exactly what they're doing well and what's not working," said Chancellor Klein. "These Progress Reports will give educators and parents the clear information they need to make smart decisions and accelerate progress in their school. The data the Progress Reports provide will also allow us to hold schools accountable for how well students are learning."

Of 1,224 schools that received Progress Reports, 279 (23%) earned an A, 461 (38%) earned a B, 312 (25%) earned a C, 99 (8%) earned a D, and 50 (4%) earned an F. Schools that earned an A and scored "well developed" on last year's school Quality Reviews will receive additional funding in exchange for serving as a demonstration site for other schools. There are a total of 23 high schools that are currently under data review. Schools that earned Ds and Fs will be required to submit "action plans" that detail specific steps they will take to improve and address their weaknesses in order to meet improvement targets. DOE officials have been meeting with schools to help them develop these action plans. D and F schools that also received low Quality Review scores or that do not meet their improvement targets in the coming years will face consequences including leadership change or closure. Students in F schools and in schools that face closure will be eligible to transfer as part of the City's No Child Left Behind school transfer process this spring. Schools that take these students will receive additional funding.

Notable citywide trends in the Progress Reports include:

  • District 25 in Queens had the highest average school score.
  • Queens has a higher percentage of "A" elementary and middle schools (32%) than any other borough. Manhattan has the highest percentage of A high schools (26%).
  • District 10 in the Bronx has more "A" elementary and middle schools (19) than any other district. Next is District 26 in Queens, with 16 "A" elementary and middle schools and District 25 in Queens and District 15 in Brooklyn with 15 "A" elementary and middle schools apiece.
  • Every high school in Staten Island scored at least a "B," making it unique among the boroughs.
    Schools that have high expectations for their students and communicate them clearly-measured by the "academic expectations" score on the Learning Environment Survey-received higher grades than those that do not.
  • Schools with more collaborative relationships between teachers and administrators received higher grades. For example, 87.6% of teachers in "A" schools felt supported by their principal, compared to 79.3% of teachers in "F" schools.
  • The majority of elementary and middle schools saw positive gains in English Language Arts and Math proficiency: 76.2% for ELA; 71.4% for Math.

Two-thirds of a school's overall score in each of the three Progress Report categories comes from comparing the school's results with those of 40 "peer schools" that have served very similar student populations over the last three years. Each school has a unique peer group. On the Progress Report, this is called the "Peer Horizon." The remaining one-third of the overall score in each category is based on a comparison with all schools citywide that serve the same grade level. This is called the "City Horizon."

Principals can use the DOE's powerful new data management system, ARIS, to analyze the detailed data behind their school's Progress Report grade. They can easily see areas in which their school received a low score and find patterns among their students' performance that explain the score. Principals can also use ARIS to find a school in their peer group that scored highly in these areas in order to learn from that school's success. In coming months, all teachers will also have access to detailed Progress Report information on ARIS. Over the past month, principals have had the opportunity to review their schools' Progress Reports and report any problems to the DOE. Principals also had the opportunity to review and confirm the data feeding into the Progress Reports during the 2006-07 school year.
Beginning today, Progress Reports are publicly available on the DOE's Web site at Parents can find their school's report by searching for their school in the "Find a School" search tool and then clicking on "Statistics" on the school homepage. Elementary and middle school parents will also receive copies of their school's Progress Report, Quality Review report, and Learning Environment Survey results at parent-teacher conferences this month, along with a guide to interpreting the reports that is available in eight languages. Because their parent-teacher conferences have already occurred, high schools will hold meetings for parents this month to distribute these materials and answer questions.


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

David Cantor   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

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