Volume 73, Number 26 | Oct 29 -Nov 04, 2003

Schools scored well for most part on the math test

By Elizabeth O’Brien

2002 / 2003 Fourth Grade Math Scores

Below are the percentages of students scoring in the different levels. Levels 3 and 4 are considered passing. Levels 1 and 2 are substandard.

P.S. 196 P.S. 1 P.S. 3 P.S. 41
Levels 1, 2
2002 50.5 17.5 13.5 30.7
2003 33.7 7.8 17.6 10.4
Level 3
2002 36.1 45.3 44.9 43.6
2003 49.5 44.9 51.4 53.0
Level 4
2002 13.4 37.2 41.6 25.7
2003 16.8 47.2 31.1 36.50

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

P.S. 41 experienced the biggest jump, with a whopping 20 percent increase in students passing the test over the previous school year. Scores of level 3 and level 4 are considered passing, or meeting state standards.

Lois Weiswasser, principal of Greenwich Village’s P.S. 41, said that last year the school used 9/11 aid to fund its inaugural Saturday Math Institute. For four Saturdays during the year, students of all grades came to school with their parents for math games and other lively instruction. The activities were not geared toward the test, Weiswasser said, but they did provide students with fun reinforcement that strengthened their skills.

“[P.S.] 41 does not teach for a test — we just use good teaching every day of the year,” Weiswasser said. She added that budget considerations might force the school to cancel its math institute this year, even though she would love to continue the program.

P.S. 196 — an umbrella designation encompassing East Village Community School, Neighborhood School, Earth School and Children’s Workshop — experienced the second-largest gains locally, with 66.3 percent of students meeting state standards, compared with 49.5 the year before.

At P.S. 1 on Henry St., 92.1 percent of students passed the test this year, up from 82.5 the year before. Performance at P.S. 3, Greenwich Village’s other public elementary school, slipped slightly, from 86.5 percent meeting state standards in 2002 to 82.5 this year.

The state fourth grade math exam is a high-stakes test. Its 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 questions and the third on longer answer problems.


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