Queens’ scores plunge on new state tests

PS 122 in Astoria has some of the highest-performing students on state English and Math tests, despite tougher standards this year.
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As educators have been warning for some time, third-through-eighth-graders’ scores on the state’s English and math tests fell precipitously this year as New York implemented tougher standards, and Queens was no different. But while overall scores declined in the borough, data released by the state Department of Education show Queens outperformed statewide averages.

The number of Queens students making the grade in English Language Arts fell about 41 percent from last year, with 31.9 percent of students in the borough testing at or above proficiency on their 2013 state tests. That was slightly better than the statewide average of 31.1 percent.

The math scores took an even sharper decline, with 37 percent of students testing at or above proficiency, down 46 percent from last year. The statewide average was 31 percent.

Educators from the federal level down to the local level have been warning for some time that scores would drop significantly this year as the new tests represented tougher standards under the Common Core curriculum, and said it did not make sense to compare scores year-to-year.

“The changes in scores from last year to this year are largely a reflection of the introduction of the new Common Core standards, state Education Commissioner John King said. “The changes in scores do not mean the schools have taught less or students have learned less.”

King said no new districts and no new schools will be identified for intervention this year based on the new test results.

Northeast Queens’ District 26 topped the borough with 55.95 percent proficiency in English and 66.6 percent in math.

District 25,which covers Flushing and Whitestone, followed with 40.75 percent proficiency in English and 51.82 percent in math.

District 30, which includes Astoria and Long Island City, had a 30.78percent proficiency rate in English and a 35.4percent rate in math.

The western Queens district had one of the single best-performing schools in Queens.

PS 122 in Astoria had more than 90 percent of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders testing at or above proficiency in both subjects.

In central Queens, District 28, which covers Forest Hills and stretches to Jamaica, had similar English (30.35 percent) and math (33.51 percent) proficiency rates.

Students in District 24, which includes Ridgewood and Middle Village, tested at rates of 28.98 percent in English and 34.35 percent in math.

District 27 in South Ozone Park followed with 27.01 percent of students testing proficient in English and 30.4 percent in math.

At the bottom, District 29 in southeast Queens had the lowest English (21.65 percent) and math (20.16 percent) proficiency rates in the borough.

Aside from their overall scores, some schools showed they were better in adapting to the new standards than were others.

Voice Charter School in Long Island City, for example, showed the largest gains in the borough, with its third-grade math proficiency rate jumping about 25 percent to 64.7 percent.

PS 164 in Kew Gardens Hills saw its third-grade-math (85.4 percent) and fourth-grade English (62.7 percent) proficiency rates both climb more than 3 percent each.

They were the exception to the rule, though, with the majority of schools in the borough showing declines.

At the bottom, PS 183 in Arverne saw its sixth-grade math proficiency rate drop 95 percent to just 3.6 percent.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 7:48 pm, August 8, 2013
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Reader feedback

jessy from astoria says:
The bd of ed is a disgrace. Cutting funds year after year, does not remedy the situation.
Aug. 11, 2013, 11:59 pm

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