Independent Report Gives Mixed Scores to N.Y. City Schools' Grades

Friday, April 13, 2012

The A to F letter grade system that New York City’s Education Department uses to rate each of its schools is an improvement over simply measuring schools based on standardized test scores, according to a report released on Thursday by the Independent Budget Office.

But the report also validated some parents’ and principals’ long-standing concern that the letter grades often reflect the economic and racial background of students, despite efforts to neutralize the differences. The Times’ reporting supports this finding, and an article that ran two years ago revealed that among city high schools, those with the lowest scores on the annual progress reports had the highest percentages of poor, black and Hispanic students.

According to the Independent Budget Office report, this trend also extends to schools with high percentages of special education students, who often post low scores on the state exams and are less likely to earn a Regents diploma.

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