Entire Bronx Success Academy Class aces Statewide Math Exam

An entire Bronx charter-school class in the nation’s poorest congressional district aced the Algebra I Regents exam.

What We Know:

  • At Success Academy Bronx 2 in Concourse Village, where 90 percent of students qualify for free lunch, a total of 53 eighth graders dominated the difficult test with rankings of 5 out of 5, according to the charter school’s network. This ranking corresponds to a score of 85 or higher on the math exam.
  • Administrators at the school announced this victory during a graduation celebration last week, causing family members to burst with joy. “The collective pride in the whole room was through the roof,” said Principal Todd Gentilcore. Taking the test in the eighth grade gives students the chance to handle advanced math classes like calculus in high school. Passing the test earns high school credit and the scores are reflected on the transcript.
  • All 467 eighth grade students across the Success Academy network took the test this school year and 99 percent passed with a minimum rank of 3 or a score of 65. Of this group, 56 percent scored at the top level of 5, according to the New York Post.
  • The teacher responsible for this miraculous task, Karina Mateo, said she convinced her students that simply passing the test was not enough. “My idea is that not only can everyone do math but that they can excel at math. I told this to parents and they believed me.”
  • Both Gentilcore and Mateo are confused about the amount of criticism of standardized testing as a means of academic measurement. Gentilcore claims that standardized testing is essential to ensure accountability for students and those in charge of their education. “If I don’t have that metric, how do I know how these kids are doing or if they are prepared for the next level?” he asked.

It would benefit many schools to have more passionate teachers like Mateo.