NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Test scores are improving for students in New York City when it comes to math and English language arts.
Math test score proficiency increased about 12 points from 37.9% in 2022 to 49.9% in 2023. During that same period, ELA proficiency increased about 3 points from 49% to 51.7%.
The numbers come as school districts across the country struggle to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The schools chancellor is applauding the news, but the state overhauled its exam this year, so it can't be exactly compared to years past.
"What the scores have told us essentially is that we're seeing an increase in math and ELA proficiency, that just on its face is good news," NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks said.
The disparity between Black and white students in ELA also declined between 2022 and 2023. Black students increased proficiency by 13.8% in math and 4.5% in ELA, reducing the gap with white students by 2.1% and 2.2%, respectively.
The number is dramatic enough to make some wonder what was going on before, including Banks.
"They were doing, in the past they were doing really poorly, it's one of the reasons why we put in NYC Reads because it was completely unacceptable for our kids to be doing so poorly," Banks said.
The state exams were set up to new standards this year, so the results are not a direct comparison to 2022. But they're still considered positive.
A number of education watchdogs say it is not cause for celebration.
"Almost half of New York City students in grades 3 through 8 aren't reading proficiently, so no matter what way you look at it, that's unacceptable," said Sarah Part, Senior Policy Analyst with Advocates for Children of New York.
But Banks has another word for it: progress.
"On its face it shows us up almost three points in ELA, and it shows us up over 12 points in math, that is huge," Banks said.
Mayor Eric Adams cheered on his education team from the road in Latin America.
"We are elated to see strong growth under this administration's first full school year. As a student, I struggled with an undiagnosed disability, so I know firsthand how the right support at school can change a student's trajectory. That's why we introduced critical investments like dyslexia screenings, NYC Reads, and more to ensure students are provided with the tools needed to unlock their true potential. This is only the beginning. The work continues under this administration and the leadership of Chancellor Banks to reinvent public education in New York City," Adams said in a statement.
Banks previously touted the increase in test scores when he appeared last month on Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10.
"These results are extremely encouraging. Under the first year of this administration, we're seeing more of our students on grade level and meeting the State's learning standards, with significant gains in math and increases in ELA as well," Chancellor Banks said. "We also saw proficiency growth among the students we have historically let down: students of color, multilingual learners, and students with disabilities. These results tell us: we're on the right track. We are making strides in our recovery from the pandemic, and we are going to build on this success this year and beyond."
More than 300,000 third-through-eighth-grade students typically sit for the exams in the spring. Last year's scores raised eyebrows with their sharp declines in math and steady overall performance in English compared with 2019.
A summary of the state test results and data is available online.