Los Lunas students’ scores fluctuate

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Los Lunas Schools elementary students are between 50-59 percent at or above proficiency in reading and math, according to Standard Based Assessment tests results, surpassing the state averages in both.

The state average of student proficiency in reading is 50.6 percent, and 41.8 percent in math.

The SBA test results were released by the New Mexico Public Education Department at the end of June, but not every grade level is given the SBA test, only third- through eighth-grade, 10th and 11th grades are tested.

Since last year, juniors must pass the SBA in order to graduate.

Valencia High School juniors rose in reading proficiency by 12 points from last year, to 50.4 percent, and increased more than five points in math to 30.3 percent. Overall, the schools’ average is 43.4 in reading, showing an increase of 10.6 percentage points from last year, and 26.3 in math, showing a 4 percent increase.

Los Lunas High School juniors climbed nearly 6 points in reading proficiency from last year to 45.5 percent, but dropped about 2.5 points in math to 27.1 percent. The school averages about 38 percent proficient in reading, and 22 percent proficient in math.

Bosque Farms Elementary School third-grade reading proficiency fell by more than 12 percentage points to 55.6 percent, but the growth in reading proficiency is seen when you look at last year’s third grade score of 67.8 percent proficient, and this year’s fourth-grade growth to 72.6 percent proficient ― a 5.1 percent increase.

In math, third-grade proficiency also shows a decline this year, but last year’s third grade was at 76.3 percent and this year’s fourth graders scored 85.5 percent, more than nine percentage points.

Sundance Elementary showed a drop in proficiency levels from last year, but hovered above 63 percent proficient in both reading and math.

Last year, third-grade reading was 76.6 percent proficient in reading, and fourth graders increased to 77.4 percent proficient.

In math, last year’s third graders were at 88.3 percent proficient, and this year, fourth grade is 88.1 percent, a 0.2 percent decline.

Sundance’s sixth-graders reading proficiency rose 0.3 percentage points to 63.9 percent this year, and math dropped by 4.6 points to 60.2.

The state average for sixth-grade math is 39.6, and 55.2 for reading.

Ann Parish Elementary third-graders dropped in reading proficiency to 39.7 percent this year, and this year’s fourth -graders decreased to 35.5 from last year’s third-grade average of 45.1 percent.

Math shows a similar decline from third grade last year at 41.2 percent to this year’s fourth-graders at 27.4 percent, but sixth-graders held steady in math at 34.7 percent, and saw an increase in reading proficiency from 38.9 to 45.8 percent.

Los Lunas Middle School scores lagged behind state averages by only a few percentage points.

Superintendent Bernard Saiz said scores go up and down in any given year, but when district scores are charted over several years, an overall upward trend is consistently shown.

The national goal is for all school districts in every state to be 100 percent proficient in reading and math by 2014.

This goal was set by the No Child Left Behind Act that was signed into law by President Bush in 2001.

Compared to the nation, New Mexico ranks as one of the lowest in academic achievement, but Los Lunas Schools officials say that national comparisons might well be inaccurate because when NCLB became law, each state was allowed to develop its own annual standards for achievement, and New Mexico set very high standards compared to other states.

Consequently, any comparison between states is skewered, explained Ron Williams, Los Lunas Schools assistant superintendent.

Basically, test scores in a state with standards not as high as New Mexico might look better, but it’s comparing apples to oranges, Williams said.

A better academic achievement comparison between states is hoped to be achieved now that New Mexico is implementing Common Core State Standards.

These standards were developed by teachers, school administrators and experts in a collaborative effort to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students across the nation for college and the workforce.

A total of 48 states have adopted CCSS, and New Mexico was the 46th state to climb aboard.

The SBA test will be replaced by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCCS test by school year 2014-15.

“In 2014-15, with the PARCC exam, we will have a much better picture of where we truly sit in the nation,” Williams said.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.