Buffalo and Rochester Schools Among the Worst in the Worst in the...

Buffalo and Rochester Schools Among the Worst in the Worst in the State

Bilingual and Special Education continues two decades Failure

The State Education Department this week released the results of the 2017 Grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics tests. In ELA this year, the percentage of students in grades 3-8 who scored at the proficient level (Levels 3 and 4) increased by 1.9 percentage points to 39.8, up from 37.9 in 2016. In math, the percentage of students who scored at the proficient level increased this year to 40.2, up 1.1-percentage point from 39.1 in 2016. Buffalo and Rochester schools rank as some of the worse schools in the state.

“I’m encouraged by the modest improvements we’re seeing in our test scores,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “As I’ve always said, testing is just one piece of the puzzle to understand how students are performing. And that’s why our draft ESSA plan takes a more holistic approach to accountability – an approach that looks at multiple measures of school and student success. This allows us to continually evolve and adapt so we can ensure that our systems are culturally responsive and place an emphasis on educating the whole child.”

“Real progress takes time,” State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said. “So, the test scores we’re announcing today are a positive sign that we continue to steadily head in the right direction. We’ve taken a deliberate, inclusive and transparent approach to develop the State’s draft ESSA plan as well as changes to our standards and assessments. We’re confident that this careful approach will continue to yield benefits for our students.”

The State did not make significant changes to the ELA or math assessments administered in 2017. Therefore, the 2017 results can be compared with the 2016 results.

Big 5 City School Districts

In ELA this year, the percentage of all test takers in grades 3-8 who scored at the proficient level increased over last year in each of the Big 5 City School Districts. New York City’s proficiency increased by 2.6 percentage points to 40.6 percent, slightly exceeding the statewide average.

In the other Big 5 cities, student proficiency increased over last year as follows: Buffalo increased by 1.4 percentage points; Rochester increased by 0.9 percentage point; Syracuse increased by 2.2 percentage points; and Yonkers increased by 3.6 percentage points.

In math, the percentage of students in grades 3-8 who scored at the proficient level increased over last year in each of the Big 5 City School Districts; the gains in math were smaller than those in ELA. New York City’s proficiency increased by 1.4 percentage points; Buffalo increased by 1.1 percentage points; Rochester increased by 0.7 percentage point; Syracuse increased by 0.6 percentage point; and Yonkers increased by 3.7 percentage points.

Black and Hispanic Students in Buffalo and Rochester- Only 17.8 meet proficiency!

In 2017, ELA proficiency across all grades for black and Hispanic students increased over last year, with increases seen both statewide and in New York City. Statewide, black students saw a 2.8-percentage-point increase in those achieving proficiency while Hispanic students experienced a 2.4-percentage-point increase. In both cases, the increases were greater than those seen by white students, who experienced a 1.1- percentage-point increase statewide. As a result, the achievement gap in ELA that separates the proficiency of black and Hispanic students from their white peers closed slightly statewide.

In New York City, black students scoring at the ELA proficiency level increased 2.3 percentage points; Hispanic students increased 2.5 percentage points; and white students increased 2.1 percentage points.

Proficiency on the math exam statewide and in New York City also increased for black and Hispanic students this year; the gains, however, were less than in ELA.

English Language Learners – Current ELA student meet 5.2% percent of Proficiency

Statewide in ELA, proficiency increased for both “Ever ELLs” (students who received ELL services prior to, but not during, the 2016-17 school year) and “Current ELLs” (students who received ELL services in the 2016-17 school year). Ever ELL students performing at the proficiency level significantly increased by 5.5 percentage points this year and outperformed all grade 3-8 test-takers combined, statewide. Performance by Current ELL students improved by 1.2 percentage points.

In math, Ever ELL students scoring at the proficiency level increased by 3.2 percentage points, while Current ELL students experienced a 1.7 percentage-point increase.

Students with Disabilities – 9.3% percent meet proficiency

Across the state, the percentage of students with disabilities who scored at the proficient level increased in both ELA and math. While a greater percentage of students with disabilities reached proficiency in 2017, their performance on the state assessments continues to be significantly lower than the performance of general education students.

Charter Schools – 45.0% percent Meet Proficiency

The percentage of charter school students who scored at the proficient level on the ELA exam across grades 3-8 increased this year. Similar to last year, that increase was greater for students attending charter schools in New York City. Statewide, the proficiency of students in charter schools increased by 4.7 percentage points on the ELA exam; in New York City, proficiency increased by 5.2 percentage points. Charter schools outside of New York City increased by 2.0 percentage points, which is slightly higher gain than total public schools. However, the proficiency for students at rest of state charters remains below the statewide public school proficiency.

In math, student proficiency increased, but not as much as in ELA. Statewide, students in charter schools scoring at the proficient level increased by 2.8 percentage points on the math exam; in New York City, proficiency increased by 3.0 percentage points; and for rest of state charters, proficiency increased 1.5 percentage points. However, the proficiency for students at rest of state charters remains below the statewide public school proficiency.