PRESS RELEASE - September 16, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

New Mexico's TerraNova Results Show Incremental Gains;
Students Exceed National Averages in Language, Reading

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) today released the statewide results of the spring 2003 administration of the TerraNova, The Second Edition, Complete Battery, administered to approximately 166,000 public school students in Grades 3 to 9. "The results are good! Overall, test scores show incremental gains over results reported last year. And in language and reading, students scored above the national average in all grade levels," said Dr. Mel Morgan, the SDE’s assistant superintendent of accountability and school improvement services.

The results show that New Mexico’s students are performing close to the national averages in all content areas. The TerraNova was administered to rank student achievement in New Mexico to students nationally in the content areas of reading/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

The median national percentile is 50. In language, New Mexico’s third graders had a median national percentile of 55, followed by 55.7 for fourth grade, 56 for fifth grade, 55.8 for sixth grade, 58 for seventh grade, 53.1 for eighth grade and 54.7 for ninth grade. In reading, third grade students had a median national percentile of 52.4, followed by 55 for fourth grade, 54.9 for fifth grade, 52.6 for sixth grade, 51.3 for seventh grade, 54.3 for eighth grade and 52.8 for ninth grade.

Performance in math ranged from a high of 53.7 in third grade to a low of 48.8 in seventh grade, in science, performance ranged from a high of 53 in third grade to a low of 48.1 in eighth grade and performance in social studies ranged from a high of 53.5 in third grade to a low of 43 in ninth grade.

Scores for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students were substantially higher than the scores reported for all other ethnic groups. For the most part, scores for Black students were slightly higher than Hispanic students’ scores, which were higher than scores for American Indians in all grades and content areas. Special education students scored lower than non-special education students except in math and social studies in grade 4 and science in grades 3, 4 and 6. Economically disadvantaged students scored lower than non-economically disadvantaged students in all grades and content areas.

“The data from the TerraNova show that there are large differences in the median national percentile scores reported for ethnic groups in New Mexico. As we implement criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) over the next several years, we will be able to better gauge student progress on meeting the state’s standards and develop strategies to support student needs,” said Dr. Morgan.

The statewide TerraNova assessment results are located on the SDE’s web page at