Eight top 10s from New York City’s 2015 test scores

The city’s state test scores continued to inch up in 2015, which meant city officials were celebrating Wednesday. Overall proficiency rates are still hovering around 30 percent in English and 35 percent in math, but in a system with more than 1,200 elementary and middle schools, there are dozens of outliers.

[Read more about this year’s test score results, and the latest opt-out tallies, here.]

We combined district and charter data to come up with the schools at the top and bottom of the proficiency spectrum, and also looked at what schools saw the most change by comparing each school’s average scale score from 2014 and 2015. (We chose to look at scale scores, rather than proficiency rates, when looking for big changes this year in order to capture shifts that might not have pushed students across the threshold between levels 2 and 3, but are still notable.)

Top city schools in English proficiency:

1. Baccalaureate School for Global Education (98.1 percent proficient)
2. The Anderson School (96.3)
3. I.S. 187 The Christa McAuliffe School (95.2)
4. New Explorations into Science, Tech and Math High School (93.6)
5. M.S. 255 Salk School of Science (91.2)
6. Scholars’ Academy (91.0)
7. P.S. 77 Lower Lab School (90.9)
8. East Side Middle School (88.5)
9. The 30th Avenue School (88.0)
10. Special Music School (88.0)

There aren’t many surprises on this list. All have selective admissions processes, and some are city-wide gifted and talented schools. Few serve many English language learners or students with disabilities and all have been top performers in prior years.

Bottom city schools in English proficiency:

1. The School for the Urban Environment (0 percent proficient)
2. Harbor Heights (0)
3. Choir Academy of Harlem (0)
4. Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts (0)
5. I.S. 219 New Venture School (1.1)
6. Fairmont Neighborhood School (1.5)
7. Essence School (1.6)
8. P.S. 19 Roberto Clemente (2.1)
9. I.S. 206 Ann Mersereau (2.4)
10. M.S. 596 Peace Academy (2.4)

The statistics are grim for the worst-performing schools in the city, many of which have struggled for years. Four of the schools are part of the city’s “Renewal” turnaround program — Wadleigh, New Venture, Essence, and Peace Academy — and five tested fewer than 50 students last year. Choir Academy of Harlem will close in 2016 due to low performance, and P.S. 19 Roberto Clemente was phased out this past spring. One outlier is Harbor Heights, which serves many English language learners and recent immigrants, many with no prior schooling.

Top city schools in math proficiency:

1. Baccalaureate School For Global Education (100 percent)
2. Success Academy Charter School – Bed-Stuy 1 (99.3)
3. Success Academy Charter School – Williamsburg (98.7)
4. P.S. 172 Beacon School of Excellence (98.3)
5. Success Academy Charter School – Upper West (98.2)
6. The Anderson School (97.9)
7. I.S. 187 The Christa McAuliffe School (97.5)
8. Success Academy Charter School – Harlem 4 (96.4)
9. New Explorations into Science, Tech and Math High School (96.4)
10. Success Academy Charter School – Bronx 2 (96.3)

Half of the city’s top performers in math are repeats from the list of top-performing reading schools. The other half are Success Academy charter schools, which are known for their high test scores.

Bottom city schools in math proficiency:

1. Choir Academy of Harlem (0.0 percent)
2. Life Science Secondary School (0.0)
3. Academy for Social Action: A College Board School (0.0)
4. Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts (0.0)
5. General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science (0.0)
6. Middle School for Academic and Social Excellence (0.8)
7. East Fordham Academy for the Arts (0.9)
8. I.S. 219 New Venture School (1.0)
9. New Directions Secondary School (1.1)
10. Lyons Community School (1.2)

Three of these are Renewal schools: Wadleigh, New Venture, and Middle School for Academic and Social Excellence. General D. Chappie James was phased out this spring, as was Academy for Social Action, and Choir Academy is set to close.

Biggest positive change in English scores:

1. P.S. 971 School of Math, Science and Healthy Living (+9.9 percent)
2. P.S. 261 Philip Livingston (+6.6%)
3. P.S. 102 Jacques Cartier (+5.9%)
4. Brownsville Collaborative Middle School (+5.8%)
4. Teaching Firms of America – Professional Preparatory Charter School (+5.8%)
6. P.S. 125 Ralph Bunche (+5.4%)
6. Imagine Me Leadership Charter School (+5.4%)
8. P.S. 190 Sheffield (+5.3%)
8. East Harlem Scholars Academy Charter School (+5.3%)
10. P.S. 452 in Manhattan (+5.1%)

P.S. 971 opened in 2010 in a new building in Sunset Park, and P.S. 261 is a popular elementary school in Brooklyn’s District 15. Brownsville Collaborative was cited by the Daily News earlier this year for having only one of 106 students pass state reading exams in 2014, while the school-review site Insideschools called Ralph Bunche a “school to watch” a few months ago, noting its improvement under Principal Reginald Higgins.

Biggest negative change in English scores:

1. Riverdale Avenue Community School (-6.8%)
2. P.S. 106 in Queens (-6.7%)
3. The Fresh Creek School (-5.2%)
4. P.S. 40 George W. Carver (-5.1%)
5. General D. Chappie James Elementary School of Science (-4.9%)
6. P.S. 51 Bronx New School (-4.5%)
7. Urban Science Academy (-4%)
7. Great Oaks Charter School (-4%)
9. P.S. 54 Samuel C. Barnes (-3.9%)
9. STEM Institute of Manhattan (-3.9%)

Riverdale Avenue Community School in Brownsville saw a high percentage of students opt out of the tests this year. P.S. 106 became better known as the “School of No” this year after the New York Post ran a series of stories about its often-absent principal (who was since removed). Urban Science Academy is in the city’s Renewal program.

Biggest positive change in math scores:

1. School of Math, Science, and Healthy Living (+8.1%)
2. P.S. 212 in the Bronx (+6.3%)
2. Imagine Me Leadership Charter School (+6.3%)
4. Academy of the City Charter School (+6.2%)
5. Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School (+6.1%)
6. P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott (+5.6%)
7. P.S. 102 Jacques Cartier (+4.8%)
8. Unity Prep Charter School (+4.7%)
9. Medgar Evers College Preparatory School (+4.6%)
9. P.S. 330 in Queens (+4.6%)

Medgar Evers College Preparatory is run by Michael Wiltshire, the principal also doing the high-profile job of improving the troubled Boys and Girls High School. P.S. 215 has phased out, and P.S. 330 is new and growing.

Biggest negative change in math scores:

1. STEM Institute of Manhattan (-7.7%)
2. General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science (-7.3%)
3. Harlem Link Charter School (-6.4%)
4. I.S. M286 Renaissance Leadership Academy (-5.8%)
5. Explore Charter School (-5%)
6. The UFT Charter School (-4.5%)
6. Antonia Pantoja Preparatory Academy: A College Board School (-4.5%)
8. Lyons Community School (-4.4%)
9. Explore Empower Charter School (-4.3%)
10. Invictus Preparatory Charter School (-4.2%)
10. P.S. 51 Bronx New School (-4.2%)

The UFT Charter School closed its elementary and middle schools this spring, while Lyons, Chappie, and the Bronx’s P.S. 51 are repeats from the reading list.