New York City and State's big gains in test scores lead the news at the Times and Daily News, and are featured at the Post and the Sun, which focuses on charter-school progress. But amid the celebratory, double-digit party (and leaving aside, for the moment, critical questions about score inflation and comparisons with national tests), disturbing trends persist, and -- not surprisingly -- get far less play than testing's great leap forward.
Have a look at the test score "deck" from the DOE's Department of Assessment and Accountability, which breaks out scores by grade and race.
The achievement gap that yawns between white and Asian students and their black and Hispanic peers has narrowed, but continues far too wide: Overall, 80% of white students earned level 3/4 (grade-level and higher) on the ELA, compared with 54% of black students and 53% of Hispanic kids. That's a 26% or 27% gap. Even if it closes at the rate of 2 or 3 points a year (the recent, upward trend), that's 9 or 12 years, or many kids' entire public-school career, before the races achieve parity -- if white and Asian kids' scores don't rise, which they likely will (again, tracking Bloomberg-era trends).
The abyss that separates 8th grade's middling progress from 4th grade's high scores is even more threatening: About two-thirds of white eighth-graders, 65%, earned levels 3/4 on the ELA; just over one-third of black and Hispanic students (36% and 33%, respectively) posted similar scores. Taken together, 43% of the city's eighth graders scored level 3/4 -- which means that nearly six in ten will proceed to high-school officially reading below grade level.
Cue the party horns here (or not).
Update: According to DOE, the scores were embargoed on State directive, meant for school use in planning placements (as if year-round testing didn't yield sufficient data) and available to parents on request, but not publicly released until their presentation to the Regents yesterday.