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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 358-08
September 16, 2008

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR KLEIN RELEASE 2008 PROGRESS REPORTS ON ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, AND K-8 SCHOOLS

Nearly Sixty Percent of Schools Have Either Moved Up One Letter Grade or Have Maintained an 'A' Grade for Two Consecutive Years

Reports Redesigned Based on Feedback from Principals, Parents, and Teachers

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today released the second annual public school Progress Reports for 1,043 New York City elementary, middle, and K-8 schools. The reports give letter grades (A to F) to schools based on student academic achievement and progress as well as student attendance and the results of annual parent, teacher, and student surveys about schools' learning environments. Many schools showed great improvement over last year. Fifty-eight percent of schools moved up by at least one letter grade or received an A for the second year in a row. Fifty-seven percent of the schools that earned As last year earned As again this year. Additionally, 71 percent of schools that received Cs or Ds last year rose to become Bs this year. No school that received an F last year received an F this year; 18 of last year's F schools became Bs this year and nine became As. In all, 38 percent of schools received As, up from 23 percent last year. This year's reports include several changes that reflect feedback from school communities and enhance the usefulness of the reports to families and educators-including a separate letter grade for each category on the report (school environment, student performance, student progress) along with the overall grade. To ensure continued progress the City is increasing the minimum score required for schools to earn an A, B, C, or D. The Mayor and the Chancellor were joined by Principal Lena Gates at PS 5 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

"Progress Reports give parents, educators and other community stakeholders an unprecedented ability to gauge how well each of our 1,500 schools perform from one year to the next - taking public engagement to new heights," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This information allows parents to be stronger advocates for their children and principals to be better managers of their schools - and that focus, together with the hard work of teachers and students, has paid off. I am thrilled that the majority of schools earned a higher grade by improving performance over the past year. Now we've got to keep that progress going."

"Progress Reports are giving parents and the public clearer information than they've ever had before about the strengths of their schools. They have also become a tool schools use to pinpoint the specific areas where they need to improve," said Chancellor Klein. "Principals, teachers, the CSA, the UFT, Community Education Councils, and elected officials gave us a lot of helpful suggestions about last year's Progress Reports, which we have incorporated in this year's improved reports. There is evidence that the Progress Reports helped many schools make substantial gains this year. My thanks to the many principals and teachers whose dedication and hard work were instrumental in these gains. We will soon announce bonuses for those whose schools made the greatest strides."

Of the schools that received Progress Reports today, 394 received an A (38 percent), 423 received a B (41 percent), 158 received a C (15 percent), 50 received a D (5 percent), and 18 received an F (2 percent). Last year, 226 elementary, middle, and K-8 schools received an A (23 percent), 372 received a B (38 percent), 258 received a C (26 percent), 86 received a D (9 percent), and 35 received an F (4 percent). The improvements made this year mean that more students will be prepared for high school when they reach 9th grade. These gains are not the result of any differences in tests. All students in grades 3-8 in New York State took the same test in 2008, and New York City students as a whole improved their performance relative to students elsewhere in the State. On average New York City students gained more ground on State tests than students elsewhere in the State.

Notable results on this year's elementary, middle, and K-8 Progress Reports include:

  • Fifty-eight percent of schools moved up at least one letter grade or attained an A for two years in a row.
  • Last year, there were 123 As for elementary schools; this year, there are 265. Last year, there were 30 As for K-8 schools; this year, there are 34. Last year, there were 73 As for middle schools; this year, there are 95.
  • More than half of the schools that earned As last year earned As again this year (57 percent). Of the 226 schools that got As last year, 128 were As this year and 75 were Bs.
  • Seventy-one percent of schools that received Cs and Ds last year rose to become As and Bs this year.
  • No school that received an F last year received an F this year. Of the 34 elementary and middle schools that received an F last year and are not phasing out, only one received a D and six received Cs. Eighteen of last year's F schools were Bs this year and nine were As. Half the schools that earned Ds and Fs last year improved to Bs this year.
  • As a result of large gains on State reading and math tests, elementary schools experienced substantial gains. The number of As among elementary schools increased 24 percentage points.
  • Seventy-eight percent of schools earned extra credit for closing the achievement gap in at least one subject for at least one population.
  • The three schools in the City with the highest scores among elementary, K-8 and middle schools: KIPP Infinity Charter School in Harlem (overall score, 106); MS 319, the Maria Teresa Middle School, in Washington Heights (overall score, 101.2); and Excellence Charter School in Bedford-Stuyvesant (overall score, 100).

New York City students and schools made substantial gains last year. In 2008, 59 percent of elementary and middle school students made at least a year's worth of progress in reading compared to 56 percent in 2007. This means that 19,445 more students made basic progress in reading in 2008 than in 2007. Slightly more students also made a year's worth of progress in math in 2008 than in 2007 (62 percent vs. 61 percent). Struggling students made a disproportionate share of these gains. In 2008, 7,740 more students in the lowest performing one-third of the City made a year's worth of progress in reading compared to 2007. In math, 3,600 more students did so.

New York City students in grades 3-8 on average gained 8 percent of a proficiency level in reading during 2008, double the improvement in reading in 2007. In math, students in grades 3-8 on average gained 15 percent of a proficiency level, comparable to strong gains made in 2007.

These improvements in proficiency substantially increase students' chances of long-term success. Increases of this size aggregated across the elementary and middle school grades increase a students' likelihood of graduating high school on time with a Regents Diploma from under 50 percent to over 80 percent.

Progress Report Methodology

Progress Reports give each school an overall letter grade based on three categories, each of which this year receives a grade as well: school environment (15 percent), student performance (25 percent), and student progress (60 percent). "School environment" includes the results of surveys taken by more than 800,000 parents, students, and teachers last spring, as well as student attendance rates. "Student performance" measures actual student outcomes-whether elementary and middle school students are proficient in reading and math. "Student progress" measures how schools are helping students improve from one year to the next. Schools that do an exemplary job closing the achievement gap can earn additional credit.

Three-fourths 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 one-fourth of a school's score is based on a comparison with all schools citywide that serve the same grade levels.

Schools that earned Ds and Fs could face consequences that include leadership changes or closure based on a comprehensive review of their survey and Quality Review scores, last year's results, overall proficiency levels, the principal's length of service, and input from key officials. Last year, 9 schools that earned Ds and Fs began phasing out. Eighteen schools that earned Ds and Fs have new principals this year. Since 2002, the DOE has phased out 83 failing schools. In addition, students enrolled at schools that earned an F who will be enrolled at the school again next year will be able to apply to transfer to another school this spring.

Feedback from principals, elected officials, union leaders, Community Education Councils and other members of school communities led to several changes to this year's Progress Reports, including:

  • Letter grades for each of the three major categories on the Progress Report in addition to the overall grade, which give parents and others in the community a clearer sense of a school's specific strengths and weaknesses;
  • Changes to peer group and progress calculations that allow more accurate comparisons among schools that serve different numbers of special education students;
  • Separate progress measures for low-achieving and high-achieving students that allow for more accurate comparisons among schools that serve different numbers of students in these groups; and,
  • Changes to the score weighting to better measure the contributions schools make to student learning.

Despite this year's improvements, 42 percent of New York City students in grades 3-8 are not yet proficient in ELA, and 25 percent are not proficient in math. Recognizing that all schools-A and B schools included-can do better, the Mayor and Chancellor also announced that the Department of Education is not simply celebrating progress but is also embracing the challenges that remain by raising the minimum scores for earning an A, B, C, or D.

Elementary, middle, and K-8 schools will distribute Progress Report results to families at parent-teacher conferences this fall. The Progress Reports for these schools are also available now on the Department of Education Web site at www.nyc.gov/schools. Progress Reports for high schools will be released later this fall.







MEDIA CONTACT:


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

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




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