Boro schools improve state math, English scores

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Queens students in grades three through eight showed great progress on statewide English Language Arts and math exams, according to results released by the state Department of Education Monday.

The borough breakdown of the state exams revealed that a higher percentage of students achieved top score levels in District 26 than in all other Queens school districts.

District 26, which covers areas such as Bayside and Little Neck, had 85 percent of its students scoring average and above compared to students in their grade statewide on English exams. This is the third consecutive year that the district has led the borough in English exam scores, with 83 percent achieving grade level standards and higher in 2007 and 80 percent in 2006.

District 26 also topped other Queens school districts in math scores for the third year in a row, with 95 percent of students meeting their grade level's standards and exceeding them. In 2007, 91 percent of District 26 students did as well, another increase from the 86 percent that it was in 2006.

Falling close behind the leader was District 25, which covers Flushing and Whitestone, with 89 percent of all tested students scoring well in math, and 73 percent scoring well on the ELA exam.

Those scores have showed progress since 2007, when 85 percent of students in District 25 placed average and above in math, and 70 percent of student placed at the same level in English.

District 28, which covers Jamaica and Forest Hills, placed third on the English exam in percentiles and fifth when it came to math. For English, the 59 percent who did well last year increased to 66 percent this year. On the math test, 80 percent of students scored in the higher levels, opposed to the 73 percent in that district who did last year.

The fourth best performance in English scores came from District 30, which covers schools in Long Island City and Jackson Heights. Test results improved to 63 percent of students scoring at English levels equal and higher than students in the grade from 57 percent last year. Also fourth in the borough on the math test, the number of students who improved in the subject rose to 81 percent from 73 percent last year.

District 27, which includes schools in South Ozone Park, placed fifth on the list, jumping from 55 percent in 2007 to 62 percent this year. On the list of math scores, schools in District 27 placed sixth with 72 percent of students scoring higher levels than last year's showing of 78 percent.

The sixth top scoring district in Queens for the English exam was District 24, which had 61 percent of students placing average and above, up from the 53 percent of students who did last year. The district, covering schools in Corona and Ridgedale, also increased its math percentile from 72 percent to 82 percent and placed third on the list of districts for the math exam.

Although District 29, covering Queens Village and Laurelton, came in last on both the English and math placement lists, the district still improved from last year's percentages. In 2007, 53 percent of students in that district performed well on the English exam, while this year it improved to 58 percent. This year 72 percent of students in District 29 scored well on the math test, opposed to the 64 percent last year.

"These test scores tell us that teachers' hard work and skill, as well as the unprecedented investments made in teacher quality and direct services to students, are paying off," said Randi Weingarten, the United Federation of Teachers president.

Student success was also attributed to the $3.5 billion in state investments supporting schools over the next two years and helping update school curricula.

"We've changed the situation on the ground, creating the conditions necessary to transform our schools and classrooms — and results for kids," said Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

More help for struggling students, like weekly in-classroom assessments and better resources for teachers are additional changes that have been made to schools by the city.

Students with scores signaling academic difficulty have decreased, while the performance of students with disabilities have increased, the report said.

The achievement gap separating blacks and Hispanics from their white and Asian classmates have also narrowed since 2007.

"Closing the achievement gap is our constant target. The news today confirms that our reforms are striking closer," said Regents Chancellor Robert Bennett.

In the five boroughs, 81 percent of third- through eighth-graders scored the highest levels on the math exams, an increase from last year's 73 percent.

English scores in the city increased in every grade except for eighth-graders, who slipped from 57 percent in the highest levels for 2007 to 56 percent in 2008.

City schools boasted the highest scores in comparison with the state's four other large districts — Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers — with 74 percent meeting and exceeding standards in math and 57.6 percent of students scoring just as well in English.

"These are impressive results for children at all points in our system," Bennett continued.

The statewide standardized tests are now in their third year since first being introduced by the state DOE.

"Our students have made great progress in math and reading, building on the gains of recent years," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

To certify the test results' accuracy, the state math and English test results were reviewed and validated by the U.S. Department of Education.

"This is a day to celebrate, and the biggest winners are the students, their parents, their teachers, principals and other educators," said Weingarten.

Posted 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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