Barely one in three city eighth-graders met the bar for reading standards on state tests this year — the lowest mark for that group since tests were changed in 2006, new data show.
The alarming 35 percent passing rate for eighth-graders, a 2.5 percentage-point drop since last year, was one of the few black marks on otherwise positive news for city kids in both reading and math.
“In English, our seventh- and eighth-graders did have some difficulties,” Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said at a press conference at Tweed Courthouse.
But he added that, overall, “New York City students and families should be proud of their continued progress.”
Data show the percentage of city kids in grades 3 through 8 meeting the benchmarks climbed by 1.5 percentage points since last year in reading — to 43.9 percent — and by 3.3 percentage points in math — to 57.3 percent.
Both gains were larger than in the state as a whole and than in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.
For individual schools here, the results were sometimes startling — with single-year gains or losses approaching 30 percentage points.
PS 26 on Staten Island saw enormous improvements in both subjects of more than 25 percentage points, while PS 197 in Manhattan saw the biggest combined losses — of more than 20 percentage points.
Asked about the city’s scores given recent cheating scandals in several large cities, Mayor Bloomberg said he had confidence in them.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence or even allegations of widespread cheating,” he said.
He said doing checks for cheating like those that raised red flags in Atlanta and Washington, DC, were too pricey to pursue without cause.
Last year, state officials raised the passing bar for both exams — sending scores plunging across the board.
This year, officials said the tests had been made longer and more comprehensive.