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Summer school students do not sparkle on tests

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The majority of the city’s summer school students did not make the grade on this year’s reading and math exams, according to preliminary figures released Monday by Schools Chancellor Harold Levy, with 60 percent or more failing each test.

Fewer than 45 percent of the city’s summer school students passed the 2001 reading test and only 36.5 percent achieved an acceptable level on the mathematics exam, Levy said in a news release this week.

While the scores had not been broken down by borough or school district by presstime Tuesday, the data issued by Levy revealed little progress on summer school scores.

In the 2001 end of summer English Language Arts exam, 43.5 percent of the roughly 37,000 children in grades 3-8 scored at or above Level 2, which is considered passing the test. Scores from last summer show that 26,282 students were tested on the ELA exam and 41 percent passed, marking a small 2 percent gain this year.

The number of students who passed the end-of-summer math exam in 2001 declined slightly from last year, with 36.5 percent of the 47,053 children tested this year passing. In 2000 about 35,000 students took the test and 37 percent passed.

“We have to focus our resources towards these students and ensure that they have the wherewithal to succeed,” Levy said.

Board of Education President Ninfa Segarra said Monday summer school was not intended to be the answer to all of the city’s educational problems.

“Summer school is not a panacea,” she said after the Board of Education’s monthly meeting at 110 Livingston St. “Summer school is one way of keeping youngsters, of getting their attention.”

Test scores are divided into four levels, with the state defining a “grade level” score as any student who achieves a Level 3 or Level 4 rank.

According to the state Department of Education, a Level 3 score is defined as a student “who should pass the Regents exam,” while a Level 4 score designates a student who “exceeds the standards” and is “moving toward high performance on the Regents exam.”

Levy also announced this week that on the reading test, 40 percent of the summer’s students who took it improved their scores when compared to their performance on the spring ELA exam.

In math, Levy said, 35 percent of the 47,053 who were tested this summer raised their scores when compared to the spring math test.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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