NMPED will not release standardized test results from last spring

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Public Education Department will not be releasing standardized test results from last spring because so few students actually took the test.

NMPED said only 10% of public school students took standardized tests last spring. Now, with this gap, it could take a few years for the NMPED to gather reliable statistics on student learning trends.

In a normal year, the state is required to have a 95% testing rate of public school students. But with the pandemic and remote learning, that didn’t happen.

“We also know that those students who experiencing instruction remotely not all students have adequate access to connectivity whether its broadband or internet,” NMPED Assessment & Learning Division Director Lynn Vasquez said.

Because of these roadblocks, the federal government gave states waivers in 2020 and 2021 for testing and assessments so they wouldn’t lose funding. However, just because it wasn’t required doesn’t mean districts didn’t try.

“We said please test to the greatest extent possible and we underscored there were not penalties for anybody who could not meet that 95% requirement,” Vasquez said.

During a roundtable discussion this week, NMPED officials shared a graph showing less than 15 school districts in the state were able to meet that 95% mark.

APS is one of those districts that didn’t test. A spokesperson told KOB out of their 90,000 students, less than 500 took standardized tests last spring. That adds up to only 0.5% of APS students tested last year.

NMPED is now looking at the spring test results, and they say the numbers they have aren’t an accurate picture of the state.

“Let’s say if 25% of students tested in the SAT and if you actually see an increase, the big question everyone needs to ask is who is part of that 25% is it your highest achievers and if that’s the case it’s not something representing or generalized across the state,” Vasquez said.

Right now there is no waiver for 2022 so NMPED expects testing to resume next spring.

When it comes to tracking assessments for student learning and growth, NMPED officials say they need two consecutive points of data to be compared. So 2023 will be the earliest the department will have enough data to look at how students are performing on standardized tests.