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2.2 School Standards Based Assessment Proficiency

This indicator reviews the results of the Standards Based Assessment tests New Mexico uses to determine students' proficiency in the areas of reading, mathematics and science.

This indicator is part of Educated youth.

Indicator description:

The State of New Mexico uses Standards Based Assessment testing to determine students' proficiency in the areas of reading, mathematics and science. Standards based testing is an outcome based philosophy of education in which high standards of learning are set, the curriculum is aligned with those standards and students are tested to ensure they meet the standards. The New Mexico Public Education Department reports test scores for the Albuquerque Public School system by grade. As students progress through the grades, the tests become more difficult, because students are expected to achieve greater knowledge in each area in order to be proficient at their grade level. This measure notes the percentage of students in various grades who achieved proficiency each year. Because different states use different tests, the New Mexico test is not directly comparable with other school district tests in other states. However, a different standards based test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is given to a sample of students in each state by the US Department of Education. This test evaluates and compares the proficiency of 8th grade students in each state, not at the school district level. New Mexico's 8th grade students have the lowest proficiency in reading, math and science, among students in the contiguous Southwest states.

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Why is this indicator relevant?

Standards Based Assessment tests help determine whether or not children are proficient at their grade level in reading, math and science. As APS students progress through the grades, their scores tend to fall. Similarly, New Mexico students demonstrated a large gap between their assessed learning and that of other Southwest children. This assessment suggests that by the 8th grade New Mexico's students are already falling behind their peers in other states, and may be unprepared for high school. Only 17% of New Mexico's 8th graders were proficient in reading or math at their grade level, 18% were proficient in science. Students who lack grade level proficiency are less likely to succeed in high school or be ready for college, and are more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time.

Data Sources:
State of New Mexico Public Education Department; Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count; US Department of Education, National Assessment of Educational Progress.

What can we tell from the data?

  • The State of New Mexico's public school students lag behind other Southwest states in standards based test scores; New Mexico's student scores are among the lowest in the US.
  • The Albuquerque Public School student's test scores are above average within the State of New Mexico.


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