was not tested in any individual year was dropped from our
analysis. This yielded 49,333 students from an originalgroup of 76,437 third graders who had been tested atleast once in grade 3 in 2005-2006 or grade 4 in 2006-2007 and so on, up to grade 7 in 2009-2010. Upon furtherinspection, an additional 2,914 of these students wereexcluded because they had been tested out of their gradelevel at least once during the ve-year period, confounding
interpretation of the results. Thus, this report is based upon
the performance patterns of a cohort of 46,419 students,60.7 percent of the students tested at least once in thesegrades in these years. Each of the students in the cohorttook the state tests for ve consecutive years and advancedto the next grade level each year, beginning in grade 3 andending in grade 7. The benets inherent in this analysiscome with a trade-off: The survivors, having gotten pastthese restrictions, will differ in character from those whodid not and may yield ndings that do not generalize to thecitywide test population.Given how the cohort was assembled, it is importantto understand how students in the cohort differ from
the population of students being tested and what these
differences imply for IBO’s ndings. Table 1 comparescharacteristics of the cohort to all citywide test takers.The make-up of the cohort in 2005-2006 is described bygender and ethnicity as well as by special education statusand English prociency when students were third graders.
Corresponding breakdowns are given for all students who
took the ELA test in 2005-2006.While the analytic cohort is similar to the citywidepopulation in terms of gender and ethnicity, it differs interms of the percentage of students with special needs andEnglish-language learners. The 50:50 female to male ratioof the cohort is close to the 49:51 citywide ratio of studentsin grade 3. The ethnic mix of the cohort appears to matchthe percentages observed in the overall school year 2005-2006 test population, with each ethnic group in the cohortwithin 1 percentage point of its representation among alltest takers. Black and Hispanic students make up 70.6percent of the cohort; white and Asian students are theother 29.4 percent. We observe larger differences betweenour analytic cohort and the overall population in terms of the percent of students with special education needs andstudents classied as English-language learners. We losesome students with special needs from our cohort because
they are tested off grade level if their Individualized
Education Plan calls for that. Some English-language
learners are exempt from testing upon their entry to the
school system and therefore are not included in our cohort.Overall, the analytic cohort performed somewhat betterthan the entire group of students taking the ELA exams.
Table 1: Composition of the Cohort Compared with All Students Tested Citywide,2005-2006 Through 2008-2009
CohortAll Students2005-2006Grade 32005-2006Grade 32008-2009Grade 6
General Ed42,579 92.2%
Total 46,188 100.0%61,504100.0%68,002100.0%
SOURCES: IBO analysis of Department of Education data, http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/data/TestResults/ELAandMathTestResultsNOTE: Totals differ because some student records were missing information on gender, ethnicity, special educationstatus and language prociency.