We know that the leading claims of the DOE about having made "historic gains" in reading and math on state tests are not actually true (the city did not gain 19 points in math since the Children First reforms began, but 4 points; and it did not gain 12 points in reading, but 6).
But I began to wonder about other subjects. In May 2005, it was reported in all the city's newspapers that 81% of eighth graders failed to meet state standards in social studies, a decline of nearly 20 percentage points since 2002. While 18.6% of NYC eighth-graders met the state standards, 43.8% statewide met them.
I decided to review the NAEP science scores for 2005, which were released last fall. I remembered that
The city not only was significantly behind the national average, but significantly behind the average for central city districts in science. This is the first time that this has ever happened.
Thus, NYC can boast a relatively small achievement gap between white and black students in eighth grade, because white scores are lower than in almost any other city tested. To show you how ridiculous this measure is, the city with the smallest 8th grade achievement gap between white and black students was
Bottom line: only a small minority of our middle-school students know any science.
Here are the websites for NAEP science, 4th grade and 8th grade.