After some back and forth between bloggers and the DOE press office, NYC has released scale scores and standard deviations broken down by race for the past seven years of English Language Arts and Math tests. In Eduwonkette’s analysis, they show that the racial achievement gap in the city has increased during the Bloomberg administration, and in 8th grade ELA, the one area where the gap has decreased, it’s because white and Asian scores have declined.

This note on the spreadsheet, coupled with concerns that the tests may have gotten easier, makes you realize just how tricky it is to get a clear picture of how the kids are doing:

As of 2006 the New York State Education Department expanded the ELA and mathematics testing programs to Grades 3-8. Previously, state tests were administered in Grades 4 and 8 and citywide tests were administered in Grades 3,5, 6, and 7. State tests at Grades 3-8 include both multiple-choice and extended response questions. Citywide tests were composed of multiple-choice questions only. As a result of the changes in the testing program, scale score results from 1999 to 2005 cannot be compared with scale scores from 2006 to 2008 because the state changed the scale scores and its corresponding ranges with the introduction of state tests in ELA and math in grades 3-8.

Personally, I’m hoping for some visuals to help bring the numbers to life… (hint, hint).