From 2013 to 2014, students in grade three through eight who are at or above proficiency level in math rose from 29.6 percent to 34.2 percent, and in English from 26.4 percent to 28.4 percent citywide.
“That’s progress across this city. It’s good news, and it is a sign of many things to come — it is a beginning,” de Blasio said. “We have an immense amount of work ahead.”
The score increases, he and Farina explained, may seem small, but are particularly significant considering the much higher standards held for students across the state.
“We used to have a less than honest approach in the state of New York where we didn’t reflect the accurate reality of how our kids were doing,” the mayor said.
A few years ago, in response to this, the Board of Regents recalibrated test scores to more accurately reflect achievement. In combination with the new Common Core standards, scores across the state dropped.
“So, it does not surprise me with the bar having been raised, and raised again, that the scores would not be where we want them to be,” de Blasio said.
Farina commended students for their hard work in light of the more rigorous standards.
“I think given the fact that we have raised the bar for all our kids, that it is really important to honor the fact that they are working harder than ever and that while the work is harder, their achievements are there,” Farina said.
“If you’re going to meet a higher standard, you’re not just going to snap your fingers,” the mayor added. “You have to invest and work the system along toward it, which is what we’re doing.”
Investments in the city’s schools have been made, de Blasio said, by adding thousands of pre-K seats, increasing teacher training and encouraging greater parental involvement.
When looking at a further break down of the scores, Farina pointed out that more students are moving out of level one scores, which indicate a total lack of proficiency. Levels three and four are students who are already proficient, while level two means a student is nearly proficient.
From 2013 to 2014, there was about a five percent decrease in students who scored at level one. In total, 33.9 percent of students scored at level one in math this year, while 34.7 percent scored at level one in English.
“I do think this is wonderful news,” Farina said. “I think it could be a lot better and will be, and I promise you that. And one of the things I’m particularly excited about is having a full year to prove that our promises to you can be met.”