Printer Friendly Format Share

PR- 270-13
August 7, 2013


City Students Outperform Other Urban Districts and Continue to Close Gap Between New York City Students and Rest of New York State

Full Breakdown of New Test Scores Available Here

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today detailed the test results from the new Common Core State math and English tests for students third through eighth grades. The new tests are far more rigorous than any previous test in New York State and new tests set a far higher bar for student proficiency in reading and math, establishing a new baseline for measurement of student performance. The new tests, supported by the Obama Administration, for the first time measure whether students are prepared to succeed in college and careers in today’s economy, as opposed to measuring whether they are on track to graduate high school. Under the new, more rigorous test, 29.6 percent of students met proficiency standards in math and 26.5 percent of students met the standards in English. The results show New York City public school students outperformed their peers in the other large urban school districts in New York State and continue to close the gap between New York City students and students in the rest of the entire state, The Mayor, Chancellor, Regents Chancellor and State Education Commissioner made the announcement at the New York City Department of Education headquarters at Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan today.

“Our Administration has consistently raised the bar for our students – and given time and support, they have consistently risen to the occasion,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “We are confident that they will rise to this challenge – and it’s encouraging that our students are out-performing their peers in the other cities around the state.  In addition, they are closing the gap with students in the rest of the state, something few people thought possible a decade ago.  The new Common Core curriculum, as it is phased in, will empower students to achieve at higher levels in the years ahead and graduate high school ready for college and careers.”

“We have known for over a year that a higher bar would initially mean lower scores,” said Chancellor Walcott, citing the Department’s months-long public engagement campaign geared toward schools and families, community groups, and elected officials. “But this change is important, and students, teachers, and schools will not be penalized by the transition. With an unprecedented amount of support being provided, I have full confidence that schools will effectively take on this challenge and students will reach this higher bar, as they have many times before.”

“New York is taking the right step forward in giving our children a true college and career-ready education. Today’s scores are a reflection of more rigorous expectations and higher standards as the assessments are now aligned to mark and measure what it truly takes to prepare students to succeed in our global economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This shift in standards gives teachers room to implement innovative techniques, and gives students an opportunity to emphasize problem-solving and critical thinking. But none of this will happen overnight. Shifting to college and career ready standards is a long-term investment that will pay off in the years and decades to come. Leaders in New York City and across the state are doing the right thing by helping lead the country from a status quo of giving passes, to a culture that expects more and challenges all of us to do better by our students.”

The new State test results are in line with previous results for student’s readiness for college and careers and show New York City students have maintained gains made over the past decade. The percentage of New York City students meeting the new, higher bar for proficiency in math (29.6 percent) is similar to the percent of students measured proficient on the 2011 National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) tests (28.0 percent) – up from 20.5 percent on the NAEP test in 2003. The percentage of New York City students meeting the new, higher bar for proficiency in English (26.4 percent) is similar to the results on the most recent NAEP English test (26.5 percent), up from 22.0 percent on the NAEP test in 2003.

Under the Common Core standards, students are required to think critically, read more difficult passages and books, and spend more time writing. In English, when students share their opinions, teachers are asking them to use evidence to back up their arguments more often. In math class, students are developing more real-world applicable skills that they will be able to use in future courses and jobs. This year, for the first time, the third- to eighth-grade State exams tests began to assess these abilities.

Across the City, 15.3 percent of black students met the proficiency standards in math, a rate higher of proficiency than all students in the four other large urban cities in New York State. In English, the percentage of proficient black students in New York City was 16.3 percent, higher than the English proficiency for all students in three of four other large urban districts. Hispanic students in New York City similarly outperformed all students in the next four largest cities in math and English, and Hispanic students in New York City outperformed Hispanic students statewide in math, with 18.6 percent of students meeting proficiency standards in math compared to 18.4 percent statewide.

New York City’s performance compared to its peers with similar student demographics reflects the multi-year transition to the Common Core that the city’s schools are leading. In 2012-13, City schools furthered Common Core-aligned instruction in each grade.

To support schools as they continue to strengthen instruction, the Department of Education is more than doubling its investment in teacher development, from $50 million to over $100 million. Common Core-aligned resources have been downloaded more than 400,000 times since the Common Core Library launched in March 2011, and more than 330,000 unique visitors have accessed the site.

Approximately 15,000 teachers will be trained this summer during daily sessions on Common Core-aligned curricula, for a total of 75,000 hours for all participants across all sessions. Across the city, more than 1 million books and classroom resources supporting the Common Core are being delivered by the start of school. More than 12,000 educators have accessed training on Advance this summer, the new teacher evaluation and development system, for a total of over 100,000 hours of professional development. These opportunities will continue throughout the upcoming school year. 

In school year 2013-14, schools will build on their work with the Common Core with new curricular options and Advance. Teachers will continue to shift their practice to ensure that students are building the types of reading, writing, critical thinking, and problem solving skills they will need to compete for educational and professional opportunities in the 21st century.

While all NYC schools transition to this higher standard, the Department of Education has worked with schools and families to make sure students, teachers, and schools are not penalized by the transition to Common Core State tests:


  • Promotion decisions will not be changed based on the new test results.
  • Students who earn the highest scores – even if those scores are lower than in past years – will still have access to screened middle and high schools.


  • As teacher evaluation will begin in 2013-14, this year’s data will not negatively impact teacher growth scores.


  • The distribution of elementary and middle schools’ Progress Report grades will remain consistent – there will not be an increase in the percentage of schools receiving D or F grades.
  • Each school’s performance is compared to that of other schools. Schools can continue to perform well on the Progress Report if their students’ performance and progress are higher relative to similar schools.

Starting the week of August 26th, families can learn more about the new tests, view their child’s test results, and find out about available supports for their child at At select libraries during the week of August 26th, Department staff will be available to help explain these changes and make sure families can access their child’s scores. Interpretation services will be provided at each location. Details are available at


Marc La Vorgna/Jake Goldman   (212) 788-2958

Erin Hughes (DOE)   (212) 374-5141


TwitterTwitter   TwitterYouTube   FlickrFlickr
More Resources
Watch the video