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NYC ACHIEVEMENT GAINS COMPARED TO OTHER LARGE CITIES SINCE 2003 Changes in NAEP scores Leonie Haimson & Elli Marcus Class Size Matters January 2012

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NAEP Scores: Why are they important? The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is largest continuing assessment of the knowledge and abilities of American students. NAEP assessments are given by the federal govt. every two years to statistical samples of students, change little over time & are low-stakes, and so can be used as a reliable metric to compare achievement trends among states and urban districts. The Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) has been given in 10 large cities incl. NYC since 2003 in four categories: reading and math in 4 th and 8 th grades. What follows is an analysis of the changes in NYC NAEP scores since 2003, when Bloomberg’s educational policies were first implemented, compared to changes in scores in the 9 other cities, plus large cities in general (w/ at least 250,000 inhabitants).

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How did we compare trends among the large urban districts? Since overall scores can change depending on changes in student population, we compared changes in scores since 2003 for six major NYC subgroups (white, black, Hispanic, Asian, free lunch and non-free lunch students) compared to their peers in other large cities. Only major subgroups whose results we did not compare were students with disabilities and English language learners, since rates of identification and exclusion from testing differ widely among the ten cities. Our comparisons give insights into where NYC stands nationally, and allows us to assess the reality of DOE’s claims of great improvement. These comparisons give insight into where NYC stands nationally and provides a robust examination of the DOE’s claims o

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When 2011 NAEP scores were released this fall, NYC DOE claimed great progress * Claim: “NYC students have improved significantly on three of the four math and reading tests between 2003 and 2011.” Reality: This is true in nearly every city tested since Claim: “….since 2003, the gap between black and white students in New York City has narrowed on all four exams, and on all four since 2009.” Reality: There has been no statistically significant narrowing of the achievement gap between any of the racial/ethnic groups in NYC in any subject tested since *Source: NYC DOE Press release, December 7, 2011NYC DOE Press release

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DOE’s other unfounded claims of progress Claim: “’On all four tests, low-income students in NYC now outperform their peers across the nation, and that’s a reason to be proud,’ said Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky.” Reality: In 2003, NYC low-income students already outperformed their peers nationwide in all four categories tested, and since then have made fewer gains than peers in several other cities. Claim: “By the ‘gold standard’ for measuring academic progress, our students have made impressive gains since 2003—especially compared to their peers across New York State and the nation,” said Chancellor Walcott.” Reality: When measured across subgroups, NYC students have made less academic progress since 2003, compared to their peers, in every other city except one. *Source: NYC DOE Press release, December 7, 2011NYC DOE Press release

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NYC comes in 2 nd to last among all 10 cities + “large city” category when NAEP score gains are averaged across 6 subgroups* *Subgroups include white, Hispanic, Black, Asian, free-lunch & non-free lunch Test score gains since 2003, averaged across all four categories: reading & math in 4 th & 8 th grades

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Scores by subgroup: In NYC, Black students scores rose less than their peers in most other cities In 4 th grade reading, NYC black students dropped from tied for 3rd to 4th place among all cities since In 8th grade reading, NYC blacks were tied for 2nd and dropped to 3rd. In 4th grade math, NYC blacks dropped from 3rd to 4th place. in 8th grade math, NYC blacks went from 3rd to tied for 4th place.

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NYC scores by subgroup: Black Students 4 th and 8 th grade reading and math gains in average scale scores since 2003

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Subgroup: White students fell sharply behind their peers in other large cities since 2003, especially in 8 th grade reading & math In 4 th grade reading, NYC white student scores dropped from 5 th to 7 th place. In 4 th grade math, NYC white students dropped from 5 th place to 8 th place. In 8 th grade reading, NYC white students dropped from tied for 2 nd to 7 th place, and came in last in score gains. In 8 th grade math, NYC white student scores dropped from 4 th to 8 th place and came in last in score gains.

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NYC scores by subgroup: White Students

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Subgroup: Hispanic Students fell sharply behind peers since 2003 In 4 th grade reading, NYC Hispanic students dropped from 1st place among large cities to tied for 4 th. In 4 th grade math, NYC Hispanic students dropped from third place to sixth place among other large cities. In 8 th grade reading, NYC Hispanic students dropped from 2nd to 5th place, with a net negative change in scores. In 8 th grade math, NYC Hispanic students came in last place in score gains, falling from third place to 7 th place.

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NYC scores by subgroup: Hispanic Students

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Subgroup: Asian Students were the only NYC group to make substantial gains compared to peers in other cities. 4 th grade reading, NYC Asian student scores dropped from first place to second place, and placed fourth in overall score improvement among large cities. In 4 th grade math, Asian student scores dropped from second place to third place among large cities. In 8 th grade reading, NYC Asian student scores moved up from third place to second place among large cities. In 8 th grade math, NYC Asian student scored moved up from third place to second place

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Subgroup: Asian Students

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Changes in demographics: Asian student pop rising faster in NYC than elsewhere; otherwise progress on NAEPS would have been even smaller

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NYC scores by subgroup: Free Lunch students had only middling gains In 4 th grade reading, NYC free lunch student scores remained in 1 st place but placed behind five other large cities in gains since In 4 th grade math, NYC free lunch student scores dropped from second place to third place, and placed fifth in score gains among large cities. In 8 th grade reading, NYC free lunch student scores remained in 1 st place but placed behind three other large cities in score gains. In 8 th grade math, NYC free lunch student scores dropped from 1 st place to 3 rd place.

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Subgroup: free lunch

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NYC non-free lunch students made the smallest gains of any city in every category; and dropped sharply at 8 th grade In 4 th grade reading, NYC non-free lunch students fell from 1 st place to 2 nd place. In 4 th grade math, NYC non-free lunch students fell from 2 nd place to 3 rd place. In 8 th grade reading, NYC non-free lunch student scores dropped 11 points – the only city where scores dropped – and fell from 1 st place to 8 th place. In 8 th grade math, NYC non-free lunch students dropped seven points – the only city where scores dropped -- and fell sharply from 1 st to 8 th place In 8 th grade reading and math, basic and proficient levels of non-free lunch also dropped sharply.

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Subgroup: non-free lunch

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NYC is ONLY city where proficiency levels in 8 th grade reading and math have dropped for non-free lunch students

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All other cities made gains in 8 th grade proficiency in reading & math for non-free lunch students, while in NYC they dropped

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Summary of findings: When analyzing subgroup performance, NYC’s relative progress since 2003 compared to other large cities has been mediocre to poor. NYC came in 2 nd to last in NAEP gains among 10 cities and “large city” category tested since 2003 when averaged across six subgroups. All NYC subgroups fell in ranking, compared to peers in other large cities, with White, Hispanic and non-free lunch students dropping most sharply. White students made the smallest gains compared to their peers in other cities in both 8 th grade reading and math; Hispanics in 8 th grade math. Asian students were only NYC subgroup to advance in ranking in any subject or grade; NYC was only city in which non-free lunch students scored lower in 2011 than in 2003, in both 8 th grade reading and math, and their proficiency levels also dropped sharply.

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What about mayoral control? Two districts under mayoral control made least progress & on average, cities with elected school boards have done better Cities with mayoral control since 2003 or earlier in red; DC has had mayoral control since 2007.

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What else do these results suggest? The administration’s aggressive free-market strategies of high-stakes accountability, school report cards, “fair student funding”, principal empowerment, and the closing of more than one hundred schools & the opening of more than 400 new schools & charters, while allowing class sizes to increase sharply, have not worked to increase achievement compared to cities elsewhere. In fact, the relative positions of white, Hispanic and non- free lunch students in NYC have all dropped substantially, with the declines especially sharp at the 8 th grade level.

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