Student proficiency drops from 2010

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The Associated Press

The percentage of students in New Mexico scoring at or above grade level in reading and math is lower now than it was in 2010.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that recently released Standards Based Assessment test scores show that 49 percent of students read at grade level or better this past spring. That’s down 4 percentage points since 2010.

The drop in math achievement has not been as sharp. In 2010, 42.2 percent of students scored at grade level in math compared to 40.7 percent this spring — a difference of 1.5 percentage points.

Education Secretary designate Hanna Skandera said it’s also necessary to look at academic growth and whether students are getting closer to the next grade level.

Skandera was encouraged that more students moved up a “proficiency level” on the last Standards Based Assessment tests than those who fell backward. There are four proficiency levels on the tests — beginning steps, nearing proficiency, proficiency and advanced. Proficiency is considered at grade level.

Data from the state Public Education Department shows 21.5 percent of students improved a proficiency level on their reading scores this year, while 16.1 percent dropped back a level — and the rest stayed the same. In math, slightly fewer students moved up a level, 16.9 percent, than those who went down, 17.1 percent.

However, those figures did not include the 25 percent of students who took the test on a computer for the first time this year.

The Standards Based Assessment tests were first given to students in 2005 and were then considered one of the more challenging state standardized tests. This was the last year the Standards Based Assessment will be used to measure students’ proficiency in math and reading.

Next spring, New Mexico students will take the new PARCC exam, designed to test knowledge of the Common Core standards. It is expected to be a more challenging test that will better gauge whether students are ready for college and the workplace.