Federal Report Card: NY Students See Math, Reading Scores Slip

BUFFALO (AP) -

New York schoolchildren earned mostly average scores on the test known as the Nation’s Report Card in a year of lackluster results overall.

Fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores declined slightly across the board in New York since the test was last given two years ago, according to 2015 results released Wednesday.

It was, for the most part, the same story at the national level, with math scores down for both grades and reading scores flat for fourth graders and lower for eighth graders.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam is given every two years at select schools in each state to measure student performance around the nation. In New York, the U.S. Department of Education chose 557 schools to be tested, 273 of them in New York City.

New York City results were on par with other big cities, except in fourth-grade math, where they were below the city average.

Federal and state education officials urged people not to panic about the scores as students face more challenging material.

“In the long run, the transition to higher standards will result in higher NAEP scores, but this is what NAEP and others call an ‘implementation dip’ as we shift from one set of standards to another,” state Education Department spokesman Dennis Tompkins said.

High Achievement New York, a coalition of supporters of the Common Core education requirements, said the results are another reason to move forward with the higher standards, which spell out what students should know in English and math at each grade level in order to graduate ready for college.

“While scores may go up and down year to year, the fundamental facts remain,” said the group’s executive director, Steve Sigmund. “All our students need to achieve at a higher level and achievement gaps for minority students remain too high.”

Among the findings in New York:

• 36 percent of fourth graders and 33 percent of eighth graders were at or above the proficient level in reading. Nationally, 36 percent of fourth graders and 34 percent of eighth graders met the benchmark.

• 35 percent of fourth-grade students were at or above proficiency in math, compared with 40 percent nationally. For eighth graders, 31 percent were proficient or better in math, compared to 33 percent nationally.

• In both math and reading, 26 percent of New York City fourth graders and 27 percent of eighth graders were proficient or above.