Usually, we talk about how much scores have changed, but this year is different because of the switch from three-day assessments to two. This decreases fatigue for students and enables them to better demonstrate what they know and what they can do. But, it also means that the 2018 results can't be compared with results from prior years. However, the new baseline established this year will enable comparisons with student scores in 2019 and 2020.
This does not mean this year's scores aren't meaningful - they are. They help us determine whether we are achieving equity for all students and reducing achievement gaps. To close the gaps in student achievement, we need information that identifies where those gaps exist. The state assessments help establish a foundation to identify the grades, schools, and groups of students that need more support.
This year, the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students' proficiency narrowed slightly when compared with their white peers. The gap also narrowed slightly for American Indian/ Alaska Native students and their white peers. While these improvements are encouraging, significant gaps persist. We know there is still more work to be done to close these gaps.
In ELA, the gap between black students and their white peers narrowed by 0.8 percentage points from 2017 to 2018; the gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 1.2 percentage points; and the gap between American Indian/ Alaska Native and white students narrowed by 1.1 percentage points in that same time.
In math, the gap between black students and their white peers narrowed by 1.1 percentage points from 2017 to 2018; the gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 1.0 percentage points; and the gap between American Indian/ Alaska Native and white students narrowed by 1.2 percentage points.
Asian/ Pacific Islander students continued to perform the highest in proficiency among race and ethnicity groups.
Of the Big 5 city school districts, New York City continues to have the highest percentage of students proficient in both ELA and math, with Yonkers having the second highest in each. In ELA in 2018, New York City exceeded the statewide proficiency rate by 1.5 percent, with 46.7 of students achieving proficiency, compared with 45.2 percent statewide. In math, 42.7 percent of New York City students scored at the proficient level, compared with 44.5 percent statewide.
In 2018, "Ever ELLs" (that is, students who were identified as English Language Learners (ELLs) and received ELL services prior to, but not during, the 2017-18 school year) achieved proficiency on the ELA exam at higher levels than the total test-taking population, with Ever ELLs achieving proficiency at a rate of 54.7 percent, compared with 45.2 percent statewide. In math, Ever ELLs achieved proficiency at a rate of 54.1 percent, compared with 44.5 percent for the total test-taking population.
Across the state in 2018, 13.8 percent of students with disabilities scored at the proficient level in ELA and 14.6 scored proficient in math. Performance of students with disabilities on the state assessments continues to be significantly lower than the performance of general education students. To help address this persistent gap in achievement, school districts provide support and intervention services tailored to individual students' needs and full access to programs to help them achieve the standards and graduate high school.
Statewide proficiency rates for charter school students were higher than total public school proficiency rates in both ELA and math. In ELA, the statewide charter school proficiency rate was 54.0 percent, compared with a total statewide public school rate of 45.2 percent. In math, the statewide charter school proficiency rate was 55.8 percent, compared with a total statewide public school rate of 44.5 percent.
We know there is more work to be done. While test scores provide us with needed information, they're only one measure of performance, and we must always look at the whole picture. The Board of Regents and the State Education Department continue to focus on lifting achievement across the board, while at the same time working to close achievement gaps that separate groups of students. We're doing that through the state's ESSA plan, as well as through the My Brother's Keeper movement. It's also happening each day through the dedication of New York's teachers and administrators who are working to educate the whole child by promoting Social Emotional Learning and positive school climates that make schools equally welcoming environments for all.
It's our job to prepare children to succeed in life. Our teachers, parents, and students should be proud of the hard work being done in classrooms around the state every day. I will continue working to keep our students on a path to success and to foster equity in education for all.
Thank you for all you do.