Just a quarter of students graduating from New York City high schools this year were prepared for college coursework, and fewer than half of all New York students enrolled in college four years after entering high school.
The figures are a part of the city's recently released High School Progress Reports, which reveals that fewer city schools received the highest A grade.
City officials said the 15 percent decrease in high schools earning an A this year is attributable to stricter graduation requirements and initiatives to raise college standards, the New York Daily News reports.
This year, 32.7 percent of high schools received an A, 31.6 percent received a B, 24 percent received a C, 8.2 percent received a D, and 3.6 percent received an F. Compare those figures with last year, when 38.3 percent received an A, 29.7 percent received a B, 21.6 percent received a C, 6.9 percent received a D, and 3.6 percent received an F.
The college readiness figures will be considered in city high schools' final report cards.
Shael Polakow-Suransky, New York's chief academic officer, told The Wall Street Journal that state tests were at fault for not putting enough pressure on students and teachers.
"Until you actually change what you ask kids to do, until you ask them to do more writing, more critical thinking, more problem solving, engage with more rigorous texts, you're not changing these tankard," Polakow-Suransky told the Journal.
But new state-mandated tests are forthcoming. State education officials created a group in August to examine and strengthen the state's standardized tests.
National figures released in August echo New York's high school progress reports: just 25 percent of ACT test-takers met college preparedness standards for English, math, reading and science, whereas nearly one-third didn't meet any of those standards.