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Puerto Rican / Hispanic Task Force Aims To Improve Academic Underachievement

Hispanic youth are continuing to underachieve academically according to new statistics released from the New York State Department of Education.  The results of the statewide 2012 third through eighth grade aptitude tests indicate that Hispanic youth are still performing below average in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Although the test results indicate a slight improvement in the scores on both exams, Hispanic students are still scoring nearly 10% below the rest of their peers.

In 2011 the percentage of Hispanic students in grades 3-8 who scored at levels 3 and 4 on the Mathematics exam was 50.2%.  This increased slightly to 53.1% in 2012, but it is still 11.7% below the rest of the student population whose percentage of scoring at levels 3 and 4 on the exam was 64.8%.  A similar trend is indicated by the results of the English Language Arts exam where 37.2% of Hispanic students scored at levels 3 and 4 in 2011.  That number rose slightly to 40% in 2012 but it is still 15% below the rest of the student population whose percentage of scoring at levels 3 and 4 on the English Language Arts exam was 55.1%.

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The results released from the New York State Department of Education also indicate that there is a significant difference in performance between Hispanic students attending charter schools and their public school counterparts.  In 2012 the percentage of public school Hispanic students in grades 3-8 who scored at levels 3 and 4 on the English Language Arts exam was 40%.  This is 8% below their counterparts in charter schools whose percentage of scoring at levels 3 and 4 on the same exam was 48.6%.

Chairman Felix W. Ortiz of the New York State Assembly / Senate Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force has expressed concern at the lack of improvement in the performance of Hispanic students on the third through eighth grade state aptitude exams.  Addressing the continued underperformance of Hispanic students on state exams will remain a high legislative priority for the Executive Members of the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force when the Legislature reconvenes for a new session in January 2013.  The months proceeding the new legislative session will be used to evaluate potential solutions and policy changes that could reverse the troubling trend of Hispanic academic underachievement.

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