PRESS RELEASE - July 10, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

State’s 8th Grade NAEP Writing Scores Remain Steady

(Santa Fe, NM)—New Mexico’s 8th grade student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing assessment in 2002 remained steady with scores from 1998, according to the NAEP National Report Card, released today. “As a whole, we are on par with our Western neighbors but trailing in national averages,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

The average scale score for 8th grade students in New Mexico was 140. This was not found to be significantly different from the average scale score of 141 in 1998 in writing. The national average was 152. For 4th grade, New Mexico’s average scale score was 142, compared to 153 for the nation. (Comparison figures from 1998 were not available since New Mexico’s 4th grade students did not participate in the NAEP writing assessment in 1998.)

For 4th grade, New Mexico outperformed three jurisdictions – District of Columbia, Guam and Virgin Islands. The state’s average scale score was not significantly different from those in 10 jurisdictions and lower than those in 34 jurisdictions. The percentage of the state’s 4th grade students who performed at or above the proficient level was 18 percent, compared to 27 percent for the nation.

In 8th grade, New Mexico outperformed four jurisdictions – American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam and Virgin Islands. The state’s average scale score was not significantly different from those in nine jurisdictions and lower than those in 33 jurisdictions. The percentage of 8th grade students in New Mexico who performed at or above the proficient level was 19 percent, compared to 30 percent for the nation. In 1998, 18 percent of New Mexico’s 8th graders performed at or above the proficient level.

In the Western states, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah had lower average scale scores than the nation. Colorado did not participate in the NAEP 2002 Writing State Assessment and Texas’ average scores were not found to be significantly different from the national average scores. Oklahoma had lower average scale scores than the nation in 4th grade and in 8th grade was not found to be significantly different from the nation.

Fifty-five of the state’s 89 school districts participated. The writing release is the second of three releases scheduled for 2003. The reading results were announced in June. The next release will be the 2002 math results in the fall.