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Mayoral candidates forecast city students’ national math test results

The mayoral candidates took a few seconds out of an otherwise unremarkable debate tonight to forecast how the city’s students will do on a federal math test.

In the next month, New York City students’ scores on a national math exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, will be made public. When the last round of scores was released in 2007, it showed that fourth grade students had made modest improvements, while eighth grader’s scores were flat. In contrast, the state’s own math test showed gains for eighth grade students, causing some to question the difficulty of the state’s exams.

The national math test results came up during the debate when Mayor Bloomberg and Comptroller Bill Thompson were asked if the city’s schools had improved in the last eight years. Some believe that the scores are one of the few reliable predictors of how students are performing.

Bloomberg predicted tonight that the scores will go up.

“You are going to see the NAEP scores show, the federal government scores, show that New York City has made great progress. I’m sorry they haven’t come out yet, it’ll take two weeks. But there’s no reason to think we haven’t done exactly on those tests what we did on the state tests, of beating the rest of the state or closing the [achievement] gap.”

Thompson responded, saying the NAEP scores would be flat:

“The state was flat, New York City has been flat for the last four years and they’re going to be flat again. And it is unfortunate that we continue this fiction, and continue to mislead the people of this city.”

Results for students across New York State came out two weeks ago and showed that fourth and eighth graders had made no significant progress on the federal math exam since 2007.

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