Math scores close to 100 for 4th graders

By Elizabeth O’Brien

**2002/ 2003 Fourth and Eighth Grade Math Scores**

Below are the percentages of students scoring in the different levels.

Levels 3 and 4 are considered passing.

P.S. 150 P.S. 234 P.S. 89 I.S. 89

**Levels 1 & 2 **

2002 4.8 3.5 9.1 29.7

2003 0 0.9 6.4 31

**Level 3 **

2002 66.7 46.5 63.6 54.9

2003 57.7 44.3 44.7 54.8

**Level 4**

2002 28.6 50.0 27.3 15.4

2003 42.3 54.7 48.9 14.3

Following a citywide trend, fourth grade math scores rose last spring in local elementary schools.

At P.S. 234 and P.S. 89, the number of students meeting state standards inched closer to 100 percent this year, while at P.S. 150 every student passed the test, according to results released last week.

Alyssa Polack, principal of P.S. 150, said she was pleased with the perfect passing performance of her small Tribeca school but cautioned against over-interpreting the results.

“It’s one class of kids — we’re incredibly happy they did very well,” Polack said.

At P.S. 150, where there is only one class per grade, 26 fourth graders took the test last May compared with 21 the year before. The number of students meeting state standards, or scoring at level 3 or 4, rose from 95.3 percent in 2002 to 100 percent this year.

All three local elementary schools saw an increase in the number of students taking the fourth grade math test this year, since class rosters shrank during the 2001-2002 school year following the World Trade Center disaster.

The state fourth grade math exam is a high-stakes test. Students’ scores greatly influence both the reputation of a school and its students’ options for middle school. In New York City, 66.7 percent of fourth graders passed the test this year, a jump of 14.7 percentage points from last year. The largest gains were posted in the Bronx and in some of the poorest-performing districts citywide.

The exam is given over three days in May. The first day focuses on multiple-choice questions, the second day on short answer, and the third on longer answer problems, said Elizabeth Sweeney, the new assistant principal of P.S. 234 in Tribeca, who previously served as a math coach in the local Community School District 2.

“It really gives you a fair assessment,” Sweeney said of the test.

At P.S. 234, 99 percent of fourth graders passed the math test this year, compared with 96.5 the year before. Principal Sandy Bridges said that students have benefited as instructors have gotten more accustomed to the test over the several years the state has used it.

At P.S. 89 in Battery Park City, 93.6 percent of fourth graders met state standards in math, compared with 90.9 the year before. Both P.S. 89 and P.S. 150 saw a sharp increase in the number of students scoring at the top level 4 and a corresponding decrease in students at level 3.

“We were very pleased,” said Ronnie Najjar, principal of P.S. 89. “We usually perform well in math, so for us it was a validation.”

Eighth grade math scores were also released last week. At I.S. 89 in Battery Park City, the number of students passing the test fell just over one percent this year to 69.1 percent. Only 34.4 percent of eighth graders citywide passed the test this year, a slight increase from last year.

*Elizabeth@DowntownExpress.com*