Student Scores Climb Strongly Across the CityNew York City public school students achieved strong gains on the citywide reading and math tests this year. They were led by fifth graders, who posted extraordinary increases in the face of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's blunt threat to make them repeat the grade if they did poorly on either exam.
Mr. Bloomberg said the results proved that his decision to hold failing fifth graders back, ending the practice of social promotion, had been effective, raising achievement.
The mayor proclaimed the new scores, coming just two weeks after strong results on statewide reading tests for fourth graders, another testament to his stewardship of the school system - a three-year period that he hailed as "a new era of hope for our city's public schools."
The scores showed a steep drop in the number of fifth graders who scored too low to earn automatic promotion, to 5,636, or 8.9 percent of eligible pupils, from 14,695, or 22.4 percent, last year.
Officials said that struggling fifth graders had benefited from Saturday classes offered for the first time this school year. Pupils needing extra help and who did not attend the classes were almost twice as likely to fail to earn promotion as similar pupils who attended 21 or more Saturday sessions.Over all, the number of fifth graders meeting standards rose 19.5 percentage points in reading, to 68.8 percent, and 15.2 points in math, to 53.7 percent.
This isn't a liberal versus conservative issue; it is simply a recognition of what kids know when.
It is simply a recognition that it's important to pay attention to what your kids know, and make sure they know what they need to know.
The whole process should be done with dignity and compassion, of course, because the main objective is to get the kids to actually learn something. But it's hardly compassionate to pretend kids know something when they don't.