While New York City students outscore their peers statewide, failure persists in the Bronx
NEW YORK, NY — With the New York State Education Department announcing last week that all K-12 state assessments would be cancelled for the rest of the school year in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, it’s worth considering the critical information that these annual exams provide. An analysis of recent scores suggests that while the New York City public school system is not failing overall, clear pockets of failure exist, especially in the Bronx. In a new issue brief, Manhattan Institute senior fellow and director of education policy Ray Domanico evaluates test results for students in district and charter schools across New York, placing New York City’s achievement levels in context and highlighting areas in need of improvement.
On annual state tests, students in district and charter schools in New York City score at or above the state average, with students in every racial group outperforming their peers in the rest of the state. Yet, 71 schools in New York City have proficiency rates below 20 percent in English Language Arts, and 100 have math proficiency rates below 16 percent. Many of these failing schools are concentrated in the Bronx, where students lag well behind the other four boroughs.
Key findings include:
On the annual state assessments in English Language Arts and math, students in New York City tend to outperform the rest of the state.
Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tell a different story, showing New York State scoring near the national average and the city scoring below the state.
Results from the PISA, an international measure, indicate that U.S. students underperform their peers in other large and economically powerful countries, suggesting that improvement efforts are still warranted in New York.
Improvements are particularly warranted in the Bronx: if each of the city’s five counties had its own school system, four would be among the top in the state, with the Bronx being the exception.
While achievement gaps exist between black and Hispanic students and white students in the city as a whole, these gaps narrow in public charter schools.
Expanding school choice could offer an opportunity to reverse trends of failure in the Bronx: students in every racial group in New York City’s charter schools outperform their peers in district schools.