New York students' math, English scores rise in 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — Math and English scores for students who took New York state standardized tests last spring inched up slightly compared with 2016 scores, education officials announced Tuesday.

The state Education Department said 39.8 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 were proficient in English language arts, compared with 37.9 percent in 2016.

The department said 40.2 percent of students passed the math tests, compared with 39.1 percent the previous year.

A grade of 3 or 4 on a 1-through-4 scale is considered proficient.

The number of students who opted out of taking the standardized tests declined slightly from 21 percent in 2016 to 19 percent in 2017, officials said.

"It's encouraging to see test refusal starting to decline," state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said.

Scores in both math and English increased slightly for each racial group, but scores for black and Latino students continued to lag well behind their Asian and white peers.

Just 29 percent of black students and 29.2 percent of Hispanic were proficient in English language arts in 2017, compared with 47.1 percent of white students and 60.8 percent of Asian students.

Officials said 24.4 percent of black students and 27 percent of Latino students were proficient in math, compared with 50.4 percent of white students and 67.2 percent of Asian students.

The racial performance gap has narrowed slightly but remains "troubling," Elia said

New York City students outperformed the statewide average in English, with 40.6 percent demonstrating proficiency, compared with 39.8 percent statewide.

The comparison was reversed in math, with the New York City proficiency average of 37.8 percent lagging behind the statewide average of 40.2 percent.

New York City's charter schools, home to about 11 percent of the city's public school students, scored impressive gains.

A total of 48.2 percent of city charter school students were proficient in English, compared with 43 percent in 2016.

New York City charter schools saw a proficiency rate of 51.7 percent in math this year, compared with 48.7 percent in 2016.

"As has been true for more than a decade, charter school students continue to lead the way," said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center.

He said the results, "together with recent studies showing charter school students succeeding in college at unprecedented rates, are why we continue to call for more charter schools to open, for more equitable allocation of space in public facilities, and for fair funding."