Schools Receiving Funds to Implement Task Force Recommendations Saw Higher Than Average Gains on Both Math and ELA Tests
City Hall – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson today announced that New York City’s middle schools have shown greater improvement on State English language arts (ELA) and math tests than the citywide average. These gains come on the heels of targeted middle school initiatives by the City Council.
In 2007, the Council created a $5 million fund allowing 51 high-need middle schools to implement recommendations of the Council’s Middle School Task Force. A year later, the Council partnered with the Department of Education, the General Electric Foundation, the Coalition for Educational Justice and other advocates to launch the Campaign for Middle School Success, a comprehensive initiative to improve the City’s 500 middle schools. The Campaign for Middle School Success was designed to provide middle school educators with the support and financial resources they need to serve adolescent students. This year, the Campaign for Middle School Success awarded more than $15 million in competitive grants to middle schools across the City.
Research indicates that middle school performance has a strong impact on students’ success in high school and beyond. Middle school students who score a Level 3 or 4 in eighth grade in both ELA and Math are more than three times as likely to graduate from high school with a Regents diploma than those who score a low Level 2. Additionally, middle school students who are not engaged in school are much less likely to graduate from high school.
“Far too many students get lost in the difficult years between grade school and high school,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The Council has been working to refocus attention on our middle schools, before these students turn into the dropouts of tomorrow. We’ve been proud to work with the Mayor’s office and the DOE to help high need middle schools implement recommendations of our Middle School Task Force. And we’re already seeing incredible results, with our targeted schools showing greater gains than the citywide average.”
An analysis of the percentage of students receiving scores of either 3 or 4 on their ELA and Math tests revealed the following:
• The 51 schools that have been receiving funding for two years have seen the percentage of students scoring 3 or 4 on ELA tests increase by an average 23.2 points over that time period, compared to an average increase of 18 points citywide.
• The percentage of students at those 51 schools scoring 3 or 4 on Math tests increased by an average 29.5 points over two years, compared to a citywide increase of 16.7 points.
• Schools receiving middle school success grants funded by the DOE have seen the percentage of students scoring 3 or 4 on ELA tests increase by an average 16.5 points in the last year. Those funded by GE saw an increase of 17.5 points. This is compared to an average increase of 11.2 points citywide.
• The percentage of students scoring 3 or 4 on Math tests at schools receiving DOE middle school success grant funding increased by 13.3 points, and at schools receiving GE funding, by an average of 10.8 points. This is compared to a citywide increase of 7.5 points.
• Out of the 51 middle schools that have been receiving funding for the last two years, 36 showed greater improvements on ELA tests than the citywide average over that time period, and 47 showed greater improvements in Math.
• After one year, 41 out of 55 schools receiving middle school success grants showed above average gains on ELA, and 43 showed above average gains in Math.
“The progress these schools have made in such a short period of time is simply remarkable,” said Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson. “It goes to show that any student can excel when given the proper support. By combining additional funding with tried and tested measures tailored to schools’ individual needs, we are making an investment in our students that will pay off in high school and beyond.”
Some schools have shown truly remarkable gains in a very short period of time. For example, IS 286 in Harlem saw the percentage of its students receiving 3s and 4s on ELA tests increase by 47.1 points in the past two years, compared to a citywide average of 18 points. In 2007, 11.2% of IS 286 students received a 3 or 4; in 2009 that number increased to 58.3% of students.
In Math, the school went from 14.4% of students receiving a 3 or 4 in 2007, to a remarkable 80.6% in 2009. That’s a 66.2 point increase, as compared to an average 16.7 point increase citywide.
Middle school grants have been used for professional development, Saturday and extended day programs, summer academies for incoming sixth graders, technology initiatives, the hiring of social workers and guidance counselors, and initiatives to increase parental and community engagement.