MANHATTAN - Parents and other education activists rallied today over standardized test results for New York State.

Protesters gathered outside the city's Department of Education office in Manhattan after officials released the latest statewide English and math test scores, which have plummeted under new learning standards.

According to the scores, 31 percent of students in grades three through eight are proficient in English, and the same percentage met or exceeded expectations in math.

Those numbers pale in comparison to last year’s results, which had 55 percent of kids proficient in English, and two out of every three students meeting or exceeding in math.

Parents say the DOE is misusing standardized tests to influence policies and other decisions, such as school closings, admissions and promotions.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said that the new rigorous exams are crucial to success at the college level.

“This change may cause short-term challenges,” said Walcott. “We're here for the long run…We're here on behalf of our 1.1 million students.”