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New York releases 2014 standardized test results
FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014 11:36 AM

Students living in New York were required to take standardized exams that measured their knowledge of curriculum aligned with the Common Core State Standards for the past two years. During 2013, students completed the test for the first time, but this year they were a little more prepared. In fact, scores improved in math and remained just about the same in English/language arts between 2013 and 2014. Some experts attribute the scores to students' improved familiarity with the Common Core. 

Who the exam measured
The New York State Education Department released scores earned by students between grades three and eight. The percentages of students who passed, or receive a "proficient" designation, were broken down by location. For instance, the results include scores from students living in New York City and those living all over the state. Additionally, the results included a separate category for NYC charter schools.

The results
New York students, in general, showed greater improvement in mathematics than in English/language arts. Statewide, 35.8 percent of students received the proficient designation in math during 2014 as compared to 31.2 percent in 2013. Students attending charter schools in the city made the most gains in math, increasing from 34.2 percent to 42.5 percent. 

Scores in English/language arts made some gains, but the increase is hardly noticeable at 0.1 percent. Statewide, 31.3 percent of students were proficient in 2013 and 31.4 percent were proficient in 2014. Again, charter students showed greater improvement in English/language arts, increasing from 25.2 percent to 26.9 percent.

Minority students showed improvements as well, but to a lesser degree than other students. For instance, 19.3 percent of black students earned a proficient score in 2014, an improvement from 16.1 percent the year prior. Additionally, 23.1 percent of Hispanic students passed this year, as opposed to 18.9 percent last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, teachers note that the achievement gap for minority students needs a lot of attention

Steady improvements
Some believe that the increased scores are a reflection of improved familiarity with the Common Core State Standards. However, as Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told the source, it's difficult to tell what specifically has influenced test results.

"You could say teachers are now teaching rigorous material more effectively or they are just learning how to game the tests," Hess told the Wall Street Journal.

If it's a matter of learning more about the state's standardized exam, students can get help outside of school. With online practice tests, students are able to do the necessary preparation work to earn high scores next year.