The number of New York City students who passed the state English and math exams in the spring increased by nearly 9 and 3 percent, respectively, according to results that the state education department released Wednesday after a delay. But city officials warned against comparing the results to previous years.
IMPROVEMENTS WITH A CAVEAT
46.7 percent of city students passed the 2018 English exam while 42.7 percent passed the math one. 45.2 percent of all New York state students passed the English test, while 44.5 percent passed the math exam.
Important to note, however, is that 4.4 percent of city students opted out of state tests this year. 18 percent of all students statewide did the same.
It's a significant jump from the previous year. In 2017, just 38 percent of city students passed the English exam and 40 percent passed the math test.
But while it appears city students improved, education officials caution against comparing these results to previous years because of recent changes to the tests. The exams were shortened last spring so students spent just four days being tested, down from six.
A CONSEQUENTIAL DELAY IN THE RELEASE OF THE SCORES
The test scores typically are released in July or August. Last year, they were released on August 22; the year before, the information was available July 29. But this year, the state education department said it needed more time for what it called a "technical review" of the results.
The delay was most consequential for families in the city, where students have begun attending school open houses and admissions fairs to begin the application process.
"In most of the state, and certainly most of the country, you just go to your neighborhood school," said Clara Hemphill, the founder and editor of InsideSchools. "But in New York, there is a vast system of school choice, and a big part of the choice depends on your test scores."
The city education department said schools knew since August how students did, but when pressed on why he didn't allow schools to share that information with parents, the city's chancellor said earlier this month it was a deal made with the state.
"The State of New York controls that information," Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said. "It's an embargo. We're not going to violate the embargo."