NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

N.Y.C. Students' Test Scores Plunge

June 10, 1999

Reading and math test scores for pupils in New York City's public schools declined sharply this year over last, according to Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew. He declared that he was determined "not to make excuses" for the scores, but then attributed the decline to more challenging tests and higher performance standards.

  • Scores had risen steadily over the last few years -- and last year Crew boasted that city school children were performing just shy of the national average in reading and well above it in math.
  • The new scores show the city's pupils performing significantly below the national average in reading and about average in math.
  • The scores of third-graders -- which had been a centerpiece of a focus on literacy -- dropped most of all, in both reading and math.
  • As a result, 70,000 third-, sixth- and eighth-graders will be required to go to summer school.

Some 67 percent of fourth-graders failed the reading test. So 16,000 of them are being strongly urged to go to summer school.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has had sharp disagreements with Crew, stopped short of blaming the Chancellor -- saying he "has done a very good job within a system that is totally nonfunctional."

Source: Anemona Hartocollis, "Citywide Reading and Math Test Scores Show a Sharp Decline," New York Times, June 9, 1999.


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