Data shows more failing grades in New Mexico school districts

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe Public Schools saw more students fail during the pandemic compared to other years.

APS data showed the percentage of A’s received are about the same in fall 2019 and fall 2020 for 9th through 12th grade students. Last semester, APS saw more than a 10% jump in F’s. The core subjects saw an increase in A’s and F’s compared to fall 2019. Physical education took the biggest hit with a nearly 20% spike in F’s.

APS had 23,252 high school students enrolled in fall 2019 and 23,235 in fall 2020.

Rio Rancho Public Schools reported about 77% of its middle school students received a passing grade with 23% getting a failing grade. About 84% of high school students got a passing grade and 16% a failing grade.

The district’s communications director, Melissa Perez, sent KOB 4 this statement:

"In comparison to a traditional, non-COVID-19 school year, these failure rates are higher than we typically see. However, the percentage of students receiving failing grades at the end of the last semester doesn’t equate to mean they will not graduate or advance to the next grade. Students are being provided multiple opportunities to recover credits at the high school level and improve learning outcomes at all levels. In addition, we made a number of adjustments going into this current semester that we believe will have a positive impact on student achievement. Tutoring and academic support group opportunities are also now being offered to all of our students, elementary and secondary. Finally, this data also helped guide us when determining which grade levels would phase into the hybrid learning model first. We started with grades 6 and 12 on Feb. 22 and will add grades 7, 8 and 9 next week on March 8.”

Santa Fe Public Schools made its comparison between the 1st and 2nd quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. 28% of 3rd through 12th grade students failed one or more classes in the 2nd quarter. That’s a little more than 3,000 students out of nearly 10,700 enrolled. 9% more students failed classes in the 1st quarter, with about the same number of students.

Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica Garcia shared the following statement:

“The SFPS recognizes the inequities that students are experiencing in connectivity, social emotional issues that have arisen from coping with the isolation from being out of school, and other issues too numerous to mention. Therefore, we’ve done all we can to maintain rigor but also add a good dose of common sense and compassion in our grading practices.”