ALBUQUERQUE – Scores released Thursday show that students across New Mexico posted major gains in math and English language arts (ELA) on PARCC, New Mexico’s standardized exam to measure college- and career-readiness—but almost 80 percent of students remain behind grade level in math.
Of all student subgroups, Native American students saw the greatest growth in reading—up 8.2 points from 2015.
“This year’s assessment results make it clear that common-sense policy initiatives work for kids when adults anchor their decisions in the belief that every student can rise to high expectations —but we’re far from where we need to be,” said Amanda Aragon, executive director of the education advocacy nonprofit NewMexicoKidsCAN. “Our kids and our educators worked hard to make gains worth celebrating. Even with major strides, though, just one-third of New Mexico students can read on grade level. This milestone is just one leg of a much longer journey toward an education system worth celebrating on the whole.”
Aragon added: “The conversations that New Mexico will have around today’s test scores are exactly why consistent annual assessments are so valuable in pinpointing and solving for problems in student learning.”
Compared with 2017, students in New Mexico’s largest school district, Albuquerque Public Schools, saw growth of about 3 percentage points in reading and writing proficiency after two years of decline, bringing subject proficiency in Albuquerque above 30 percent for the first time, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED).
Since 2015, Farmington, Gadsden, Gallup and Hobbs have posted double-digit proficiency increases. Las Cruces Public Schools also rose above 30 percent ELA proficiency for the first time, and 42.6 percent of Farmington students demonstrated proficiency in the subject.
Statewide, math proficiency scores increased by 4.3 percent since 2015—but only one in five students can solve math problems on grade-level. No schools posted gains as high in math as reading, although Gadsden Independent Schools showed the greatest growth, up to 26.3 percent proficiency among its students, the third highest math proficiency among the state’s ten largest districts.
“There’s promise in our PARCC scores, but it’s only as strong as our commitment to every kid,” Aragon said. “A bright spot in our scores was how they revealed examples of equity in our public schools: even schools that serve our highest-needs kids saw notable growth. Now’s our chance to zoom in on success stories and replicate them across the state.”
About NewMexicoKidsCAN: Launched in 2018, NewMexicoKidsCAN: The New Mexico Campaign for Achievement Now is a local non-profit organization that advocates for community-informed, student-centered and research-backed education policies. Connecting policy, instructional practice and politics the organization works to reimagine what is possible in New Mexico’s public education system to ensure New Mexico students become the future community, civic and business leaders New Mexico needs. To learn more, visit www.nmkidscan.org.