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How Can Cities’ NAEP Report Cards Be Ok, When Students Are Doing Worse?

Here’s a riddle. In New York City, the largest school district in the nation, eighth-grade math scores were virtually unchanged between 2013 and 2015, according to national test results released October 28, 2015. That’s not great news, but at least they didn’t decline along with those of the rest of the nation’s eighth graders.

But a closer inspection of New York City’s scores showed something peculiar. Scores of white students fell a whopping seven points, with the average white student now scoring below “proficient” instead of above. Scores of black students declined two points. And Asian test scores declined by a point as well.