NY State ELA and Math Test Scores – What Do They Mean?

The New York State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math test scores for the 2009-2010 school year have been released.  The document is rather larger so here are the relevant sections for the schools in Harlem and Upper Manhattan:

District 3 - pgs. 622-639

District 4 - pgs. 640-654

District 5 - pgs. 655-670

District 6 - pgs. 671-684

Before we get into any of the commentary about the results (and there's plenty already), let's go over what these levels mean.  

According to a press release from the The New York State Education Department (NYSED):

In order to align our Grade 3-8 assessments with a new college-readiness goal, the 2010 Math and ELA Proficiency Standard scores (Level 3) have changed from 650 where they have been set in the past to these scores:

Grade Math ELA
8 673 658
7 670 664
6 674 662
5 674 666
4 676 668
3 684 662

The Level 2 score, renamed the Basic Standard, has been set at a level that gives  students a 75% chance of earning a Regents score of 65, sufficient to earn a Regents diploma.  The 2010 Math and ELA Basic Standard scores have changed from where they have been set in the past to these scores:

Grade Math ELA
8 639 627
7 639 642
6 640 644
5 640 647
4 636 637
3 661 643

The Performance levels for students have been renamed to reflect more precisely for parents, teacher and schools whether a student is below, meeting, or exceeding the Proficiency standard. The new labels are:

Performance Level Label
Level 1 Below Standard
Level 2 Meets Basic Standard
Level 3 Meets Proficiency Standard
Level 4 Exceeds Proficiency Standard

To summarize, students scores need to be at Level 3 or higher in order to be grade level proficient.  With that in mind, no matter how you feel about testing, these results are not good.  There will be a lot of spin and parsing of these numbers in the next few days.  Inside Schools has some further breakdown of the results here.

According to the DOE, parents will receive their children’s scores in the second week of August.

Are you happy with your school's results?