A few months ago we did an analysis of the college-readiness numbers of the system’s high-school graduates. That analysis showed that the system’s college-readiness rate – 22.2% — was largely attributable to a small number of high schools. The 35 schools that made up the top 10 percent of high schools contributed nearly half of the graduates ready for college, while hundreds of other high schools had college-ready rates in the single digits.
That same pattern – a “tale of two school systems” – is echoed in the results of the recent state tests on grades 3-8 based on the Common Core standards. In these most recent tests, as in the college-ready statistics, a minority of high-achieving schools helped camouflage much lower results in the majority of schools.
In these new tests based on the much more demanding Common Core standards, only about 26 percent of grade 3-8 students citywide were judged proficient in reading and 30 percent proficient in math, far below the achievement levels on previous state tests. But even this unimpressive level was not reached by the great majority of elementary and middle schools. In these schools student achievement was lower – sometimes much lower — than the citywide average.
One quarter of schools produce half to two-thirds of proficient students.