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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 14, 2009

For More Information Contact:
Jane Briggs, Jonathan Burman or Tom Dunn at (518) 474-1201
Internet: http://www.nysed.gov

Commissioner Steiner’s Statement on
New York NAEP performance in Mathematics

The Board of Regents and I are committed to providing assessments that
accurately measure the knowledge and skills our students need to be fully prepared for
college, succeed in the global economy, and enjoy a lifetime of learning and productive
citizenship.

As such, the New York State NAEP scores in mathematics, released today, are
of great concern to the Board of Regents and to me. These results show that New York
(and the nation) did not show any statistically significant gain between 2007 and 2009.
We are particularly concerned by the tragically stubborn gaps that separate the
achievement of too many of our African-American students, Hispanic students, low-
income students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities from their
peers.

A few details:

On NAEP, the State’s average scale score in 4th grade math declined slightly
from 243 to 241. The average score in 8th grade math increased only slightly from 280
to 283. At the same time, the percentage of students who scored proficient or above in
4th grade math declined from 43 to 40 percent and in 8th grade math increased from 31
to 34 percent.

We are struck by the contrast between results on the NAEP and on New York
State’s own math tests. Our state tests show gains during that same two-year period.
The average scale score in 4th grade math increased from 680 to 689. The average
score in 8th grade math increased from 657 to 675. At the same time, the percentage of
students who scored proficient or above in 4th grade math increased from 80 to 87
percent and in 8th grade math increased from 59 to 80 percent.

Chancellor Tisch has said publicly that New York’s learning standards must be
raised. To ensure that New York’s testing program is comprehensive, rigorous, and
focused on critical knowledge and skills, we will take the following actions:
• Carefully review the State tests and raise the standards, resetting the cut
scores as needed.
• Revise the design of the State tests so they have greater depth and
breadth and, at the same time, eliminate the predictability of the questions
asked.

In order to close the achievement gap and improve academic outcomes for all students,
we are committed to an ambitious, long-term reform agenda to raise the quality of our
standards, assessments, and curriculum materials, and to strengthen teacher and
principal preparation.

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