The Manhattan Institute’s “Poverty and Progress in New York” series tracks the effects of Mayor de Blasio’s policies on lower-income New Yorkers. This paper examines progress during 2015–16 in English language arts (ELA) and in math on the Common Core–aligned New York State Assessment Program, which covers nearly half a million students in grades 3–8 in the city’s traditional public schools (i.e., non-charter schools).
- From 2015 to 2016, the percentage of students scoring proficient in ELA rose sharply (7.6 percentage points), while the percentage scoring proficient in math rose slightly (1.2 percentage points).
- The extent to which these changes reflect real progress is unclear. Major changes were introduced to the 2016 ELA and math exams, including fewer questions; allowing students unlimited time to take the exams; and releasing 75% of test questions from the 2015 exams in advance of the 2016 exams (compared with releasing 50% of 2014 exam questions in advance of the 2015 exams).