PRESS RELEASE - November 13, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

State's 2003 4th and 8th Grade NAEP Math Scores Rise While 2003 Reading Scores Remain Steady

(Santa Fe, NM)--New Mexico's 4th and 8th grade student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment in 2003 rose as compared to scores from 2000, according to the NAEP National Report Card, released today. Eighth grade reading scores for 2003 held steady while 4th grade reading declined slightly as compared to 2002.

“The math results in New Mexico and across the nation are very good news. Our expectation is that performance in math will continue to rise as schools institute the state’s new math standards adopted last year,” said Secretary of Education-Interim Dr. Alan D. Morgan. “In reading, New Mexico also mirrored national results. New standards for language arts were adopted in 2000 that are beginning to take hold. Overall, because of its rigorous standards, the NAEP assessment offers us a good target and measure of educational progress in New Mexico,” he said.

The average scale score for New Mexico’s 4th grade students in math of 223 was higher than the 2000 score of 213, on a scale of 0-500. The national average was 235 for 2003. For 8th grade, New Mexico’s average scale score of 263 was higher than the 2000 score of 259. The national average was 278 for 2003. The percentage of New Mexico’s 4th grade students who performed at or above proficient in math rose in 2003 to 17% from 12% in 2000. And for 8th grade, proficiency rose from 12% to 15%. This compares to 32% of 4th graders nationally who performed at or above proficient in math and 29% of 8th graders in 2003.

For 4th grade reading, the average scale score for students in 2003 of 203 was not found to differ significantly from that in 2002 (208). The same was true for the percentage of students who performed at or above proficient – 21% in 2002 compared to 19% in 2003. For 8th grade reading, the average scale score for students in 2003 of 252 was not found to differ significantly from that in 2002 (254). The percentage for students who performed at or above proficient was 20% for 2003 and 20% for 2002. This compares to national proficiency of 31% in reading in 4th grade and 32% in 8th grade for 2003 and scale scores of 218 for 4th grade and 263 for 8th grade.

Fifty-five of the state’s 89 school districts participated in the math and reading assessments. A total of 117 schools participated in the 4th grade assessments and 97 schools participated in the 8th grade assessments.