State testing shows increase in reading scores, lack of progress in math proficiency statewide
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Public Education Department has released some of the statewide testing scores for public school students as the state continues its push to climb out of the bottom of many U.S. education rankings.
The results show that 38% of students are proficient in English/Language Arts. That’s a four percentage point increase from last year.
But math scores didn’t improve. Just 24% percent of students were proficient, which is one percentage point lower than last year.
This comes after the announcement last year that only about a quarter to a third of students met proficiency across all subjects. The tests were new last year.
The New Mexico Public Education Secretary, Dr. Arsenio Romero, is pointing to the positives from recent test scores, including reading results.
“It is awesome that we have these 4% gains. I really want to see more and I really think we’re going to be able to do that,” he said. “We’re moving in the right direction for sure.”
KOB 4 asked Sec. Romero about the lack of progress in statewide math scores.
“It is important that we saw some flat scores. What that also means is, we didn’t regress,” he said.
Romero’s goal is to make gains of double-digit percentage points in next year’s tests and to make a huge jump from this year’s scores to 60-plus percent proficiency over just a few years.
“My goal is to be able to make these (goals) happen over the next two to three years, to see some very dramatic and systemic changes when it comes to outcomes for students,” Sec. Romero said.
Others aren’t quite so optimistic. Amanda Aragon is the Executive Director of NewMexicoKidsCAN, an education nonprofit.
“Any progress in reading is always worthy of celebration, and also, we are still really dramatically undeserving of the majority of kids in New Mexico,” Aragon said. “I hope there are a lot of people sitting in meeting rooms today saying, ‘Okay, what are we going to do to get better.’”
As for the state’s goals, they sure sound good.
“I love the ambition,” Aragon said. “I think we need ambitious goals. This is the time for ambitious goals and ambitious intervention.”
A Public Education Department spokesperson said the PED will release the full results later this year. Schools and parents received individual scores months ago, shortly after students took the tests.
The NM Vistas website shows how a specific school performed.
Albuquerque Public Schools leaders say the district, which is the state’s largest, saw some improvement, including in reading where progress there is in line with the statewide scores.
However, high school juniors’ math scores are below 20%.
APS has posted more on the district’s results here.