Test Scores Drop in Middle School

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State test scores for grades 3-8 show good marks in the early grades, but there's still a significant drop in middle school. WNYC's Kathleen Horan reports.

The overall numbers in the city stayed nearly the same with 50.7 percent of kids meeting standards - a drop of about one percent form last year. If half the kids are passing, half are also below grade level and most of those kids are in grades 6 through 8.

For eighth graders, scores in the city went up a few points but only 36.6 percent of students met their target - still, the city made more gains in 8th grade than the rest of the state.

State education Commissioner Richard Mills says teachers need even greater training in helping older kids read. While Schools Chancellor Joel Klein promised more education reforms - including focusing on kids who are still struggling in middle school.

Meanwhile Teacher's Union President Randi Weingarten says she's frustrated that the result of the tests given in January weren't released before the school year started. But she thinks the answer to raising scores in the upper grades is to shrink class size. Weingarten says older kids need more attention, not less.