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High school for new immigrants boasts biggest test gains in city

Jun 11, 2013 by

Self-grading produces non-believable scores.Can’t wait to see this scam

Students at a Bronx high school for new immigrants may struggle with learning English — but they can suddenly spell success.

The International School for Liberal Arts boosted its passing rates on the English Regents exam from a dismal 34 percent in 2011 to a stunning 87 percent last year — a difference of 53 points.

Despite serving nearly a full roster of Spanish-speaking transplants, the school bested the average citywide pass rate on the English exam — 73 percent — by a full 14 percentage points.

The Kingsbridge Heights school also remarkably improved its passing rates by 24 percentage points on the Integrated Algebra exam and 12 percentage points in US History.

Its Global History and science scores each climbed by 18 points.

“I came here two years ago. I didn’t know English, and I had to take five Regents! I was scared. I didn’t think I could do it,” said Deborah Castillo, a 17-year-old senior from the Dominican Republic who scored an 87 out 100 on last year’s English exam.

She said tutoring and prep work from teachers accounted for her high grade.

“I was really surprised I got an 87 in English!” said Castillo. “Last year, I had only one year speaking English, and I still passed!”

Teachers and Principal Francine Cruz didn’t respond to e-mails seeking insight into the school’s turnaround.

Former Principal Migdalia Carrillo, who retired in 2012, didn’t respond to phone messages.

Asked about the school’s results, Department of Education officials said the incoming skill levels of students taking the English Regents in 2012 were “notably higher” than those of kids who took the exam in 2011.

They said more seniors at the school took the Regents in 2012 than in the year prior — many who were taking the test for a second time.

The school was not among the 150 prevented from grading their own Regents tests last year. In those 150 schools, passing rates were generally lower than those of schools that graded their own exams.

Self-scoring is barred at all city high schools starting this year.

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