New York City reading scores make big gains, matching state average for first time

The share of New York City students who passed the state English exams jumped by nearly 8 points this year to 38 percent, matching the state average for the first time, state officials said Friday. 

They made smaller gains in math: 36.4 percent of city students passed the exams in 2016, a roughly one point increase. Statewide, about 39 percent of students passed that exam, according to state figures released Friday afternoon.

The big gain in English proficiency was distributed evenly across demographic groups. In New York City, the pass rate among black students grew by 7.6 percentage points; Hispanic students saw a 7.4 point increase; and white students’ pass rate went up by 7.6 percentage points. That means the so-called achievement gap between those students stayed about the same.

The percentage of students statewide opting out of the tests remained relatively flat at 21 percent.

Though the city’s English scores showed some of the biggest improvements, the statewide average also jumped by almost 7 percent. Officials on Friday said they were unclear as to what caused the gains.

“Given the numerous changes in the tests, we cannot pinpoint exactly why the test scores increased,” the state education department said in a Twitter post.

This article was first published on Chalkbeat New York on July 29.