Fewer New York students in grades 3-8 passed state exams this year in English and math under newly revised standards that set the bar to score "proficient" much higher. Last year, about 78% of students met that standard in English, and this year, the rate was 53%, officials announced Wednesday. In math, 61% of students were considered proficient this year, while 86% were last year. The drop in achievement has some questioning whether gains reported in recent years were real, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the results do not mean that "kids did worse."

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