Catholic Academies ‘Make the Grade,’ Outperforming Public Schools on State Tests

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By Tim Harfmann

Fractions can be frightening for students, especially when it comes to taking tests. 

But for Catholic academies in the Brooklyn Diocese, new standardized test scores are in, showing that Catholic education outperformed public schools in both math and English.       

“I was very nervous about it. I thought I was not going to do very well because I’m not really good with standardized tests, but I thought it was fairly easy,” said Camille Munoz, a seventh grader at Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens. 

Other students across the Brooklyn Diocese did well on the math and English exams.

In the statewide system, a grade of three or higher on a four-point scale is rated ‘excellent.’

On the English exam, 54 percent of fourth grade Catholic Academy students received a score of ‘excellent,’ compared to 49 percent of public school students.

Fifty-nine percent of sixth graders in the Brooklyn Diocese scored high grades, compared to 48 percent of students in public classrooms.

In Math, 51 percent of Catholic Academy fourth graders hit an ‘excellent’ mark, compared to 49 percent in public schools.

Catholic and public sixth graders got the same score of excellence: 43 percent.

Hannia Upton’s daughter is applying to high schools, and she noticed a big difference in state test scores from when her child was in public school.

“She did so well that we’re looking at schools that we didn’t even consider before, because these scores are so good,” Hannia explained. 

“Within the first year, her math score went up 25 points on the Terranovas, so right away knew I had made the right decision,” she said. 

“It’s essential that we meet the children where they are, give them an opportunity to develop, and move at their pace,” said Doctor Tom Chadzutko, the superintendent of schools for the Brooklyn Diocese.

 A key part of the success is one-on-one instruction. Educators also use hands-on technology like Smartboards and iPads, which make tests for students like Camille easy.

“I understood most of the material that we were given, and also we kind of practiced with all of our classes for the state tests,” Camille said. 

“It’s a test score. Whether we did good or we did worse, at the end of the day, are we meeting the needs of the children entrusted to us?” asked Dr. Chadzutko of his main concern. 

In the end, Catholic education goes beyond the grade — all to build a foundation for the future.