DiNapoli calls for reform after NY grade 4 tests results decline at double federal rate

Man speaking at a podium

FILE - New York State comptroller Tom DiNapoli in January

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SCHENECTADY — State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is calling on school districts statewide to reassess their plans for allocating federal pandemic funds after federal data revealed that the pandemic negatively impacted student performance in the state at twice the federal rate.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data shows that federal assessment tests administered every two years to students in grades 4, 8 and 12 showed that grade 4 and English Language Arts (ELA) math scores declined at twice the rate in New York than they did nationally.

The federal data shows that grade 4 math scores declined 10% between 2019 and 2022 in New York, twice the national average, while ELA scores fell 6%, also twice the federal rate.

Eighth-grade students in New York fared better, with math scores declining 6%, below the 8% national average and reading scores remained flat from 2019 to 2022, while a 3% decline in ELA scores was recorded nationwide.

New York was allocated approximately $15 billion in emergency education aid during the COVID-19 pandemic from the federal government, with $14 billion of Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund (ESSER) assistance.

According to DiNapoli, New York’s school districts have spent roughly 40% of ESSER funds, with the funds needing to be allocated by September 2024.

“The classroom disruptions caused by the pandemic have hurt New York’s students,” DiNapoli noted in a statement. “Academic losses were greater for younger students, with fourth-grade scores dropping more than the national average. School districts must act quickly to take full advantage of available resources to help students that are most in need get caught up, before time runs out.”

Unlike individual state assessments, NAEP is the only common measure of student achievement, with the tests labeled as the nation’s report card, according to DiNapoli’s report.

In the comptroller’s analysis, DiNapoli urged the New York State Education Department (SED) to provide school districts with guidance on best practices for spending of federal pandemic funds and encouraged school districts to ensure that money is being utilized effectively for students most in need of academic assistance.

Fourth-grade ELA state test results for the Schenectady City School District fell from 32% proficient in 2019 to 15% proficient in 2022. Math scores in the district declined from 17% proficient in 2019 to 14% three years later.

According to SED, due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, it may not be appropriate to compare state standardized assessment results with results from prior years.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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