FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 3, 2008
For more information, contact:
Jonathan Burman, Tom Dunn, or Alan Ray at (518) /474-1201
NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS RESULTS
IN 8TH GRADE WRITING SHOW GAINS FOR NEW YORK STUDENTS SINCE 1998
Results for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) announced today show that since 1998, when the Board of Regents raised standards, New York State has made gains in 8th grade writing.
New York was 8th among the 50 states in increasing the percentage of students who scored proficient or above in writing from 1998 to 2007. For all New York public school students, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above rose from 21 percent in 1998 to 31 percent in 2007. (The percentage scoring proficient or above in 2002 was 30 percent.)
The national average for public school students was also 31 percent in 2007.
New York also made significant gains in students’ average overall score between 1998 and 2007. The overall score was 146 in 1998 and 154 in 2007. Gains from 2002 to 2007 were more modest; the overall score was 151 in 2002.
Regents Chancellor Robert M. Bennett said, “Writing is a critically important skill that everyone must have. That’s why the Regents emphasize writing as a fundamental part of the English Learning Standards. Employers tell us the ability to write is one of the first things they look for when anyone applies for a job.”
State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “I applaud the improvement in writing since New York began its elementary and middle school tests. But it’s clear we need to focus even more on writing. The Regents are right to insist on writing as part of New York State’s tests. We urge that all students write at least 1,000 words a month and read at least 25 books a year. I always look at the quality of writing whenever I visit schools.”
New York was 4th among the 50 states in increasing the average score of Hispanic students since 1998. The score increased from 125 to 140. The national average was 141.
New York was only average, ranking 16th, in improving the average score of African-American students since 1998. The average score rose from 131 to 140.
The achievement gap between white and Hispanic students declined between 1998 and 2007. In 1998, the gap was 31 points; in 2007, it was 21 points. The gap between white and African-American students also declined, but not significantly, from 25 points to 21 points.
NAEP results are based on a sample, not a census of the total student population. In New York, about 2 percent (approximately 4,000) of about 200,000 students are tested at each grade; each student takes only a portion of the test. Because this is a sample only, the National Center for Educational Statistics, which produces the NAEP report, advises that the results are “estimates” and “should be interpreted and used with caution.” They advise that the public focus on longer-term trends.
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