A preliminary analysis of scores on state reading and math tests taken this school year shows that while New York City third- and seventh-graders posted gains, about 8,921, or 15.2% of the eligible fifth-graders, failed to earn promotion, up from last year's 5,450 students. Skeptics say the increased number of failures indicates last year's dramatic rise in reading scores for fourth-graders was inflated. City officials note that students took a different exam administered earlier in the school year.

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