City’s Fourth-Graders Show Improvements on National Reading Tests—Eighth-Graders Do Not

The city’s fourth-graders made significant progress on a 2009 national reading test, but eighth-grade scores didn't budge at all.

In Atlanta and Los Angeles eighth grade scores rose but, they were stagnant here in New York City. Just 22 percent of city eighth graders met the national standard.

For more on this issue listen to WNYC's Amy Eddings and Beth Fertig (audio above).

The test is closely watched, because it's considered much more rigorous than state exams. Scores for New York City fourth graders went up four points, which was higher than the average increase for big cities. But despite the gains, only 29 percent of city fourth graders were proficient on the national test, compared to 69 percent on the New York State reading test.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said this shows why the state is raising its standards. But he said he's pleased to see city students making progress

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says low-income students did especially well on the national reading test.

“For the first time, those who receive free and reduced lunches are outperforming such students, both in the rest of the state and the rest of the country,” Bloomberg says.

Some advocates say this is why there should be national tests and standards. New York State says it's already revising its own exams to make them more rigorous.