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SAT, AP Scores Up For City Students

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On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced what is likely to be his final set of standardized test score results, and he ended with some good news. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Most parents, teachers and students feel strongly about it. State education officials recently admitted it's an issue. The mayor-elect even campaigned on it.

"We have to move away from an over-reliance on standardized testing," Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said.

So it may seem odd to celebrate an increase in high school students taking standardized tests, but since students have to take SATs and Advanced Placement exams to get into most competitive colleges, more of them taking out their number 2 pencils is generally seen as a positive trend. Especially since their scores also went up.

"We have a very big reason to be proud," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "We're going in the right direction."

The number of city 12th-grade students taking the SAT increased from 31,252 in 2002 to 47,803 this year.

As more students took the test over the past few years, the average scores went down. This year, however, that trend reversed, with math, reading and writing scores all improving in the city while going down or staying flat nationally.

When it comes to Advanced Placement exams, the numbers of students taking and passing have doubled over the past decade.

This year, 19,511 city students passed at least one so-called AP exam, which is supposed to signify college-level work.

Asked to explain why participation and performance are up, Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott credited policies that the next mayor has said he plans to change, such as closing low performing schools and replacing them with new schools.

"Our new small schools, especially our high schools, are outpacing the schools they replace, so continuing that I think allows us to have greater gains for our students," Walcott said.

They also credited using test scores to publicly grade schools.

"We think this is the right thing to do, and the next administration's got to look at it and make decisions on what they think is the right thing to do," Bloomberg said.

While in recent years, the city's results on various standardized tests have not always been good, the outgoing self-proclaimed education mayor said that he was proud to take some credit for these latest numbers.

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