Test Scores in New York City Are Nothing to Write Home About


New York City is about to introduce new, more difficult school testing based on the Common Core curriculum, and that means average scores are likely to go down. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting ready to take some heat:

The mayor’s telling of history is poised to receive one of its most vigorous challenges yet on Wednesday, when New York State is expected to report drastic drops in student performance across the state because of a new set of tougher exams.

In New York City, the proportion of students deemed proficient in math and reading could decrease by as many as 30 percentage points, city officials said, threatening to hand Mr. Bloomberg a public relations problem five months before he is set to leave office.

….As his mayoralty winds down, Mr. Bloomberg has sought to burnish an image as a savior of a school system rife with racial and socioeconomic disparities. But several of the Democratic candidates for mayor have rejected that portrayal, seizing on anger among some parents rankled by what they say is his unilateral approach to governing.

Politics is politics, but the rest of us don’t really need to pay any attention to this. Nor do we have to pay attention to New York’s own testing, which may or may not be afflicted by dumbed-down tests that are about to get dumbed back up. Nor do we have to guess. Instead, we can just look at TUDA, the subset of the national NAEP test aimed at urban districts. New York City has participated in TUDA for Bloomberg’s entire mayoralty, and the basic results are below:

New York City’s test scores have increased over the past decade, but they’ve increased less than in most other big cities (2 points vs. 6 in reading, 6 points vs. 12 in math). On the 4th grade test, New York City has done about the same as other big cities. This isn’t a massive failure, but it doesn’t look like any kind of outsized success either.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate