August 6, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Legislative Liaison
(505) 827-7803

Majority of New Mexico's 11th-Graders at or Above Proficient in Reading but Below Proficient in Math

(Santa Fe, NM)—The majority of New Mexico’s 11th-grade public school students – 56% -- are at or above proficient in reading, while only 47% are at or above proficient in math, according to verified state-level results released today by the Public Education Department (PED). The results, from the first administration of the New Mexico High School Standards-Based Assessment in November 2003, will be used to rate public high schools in 2004.

The results, by individual district and high school, are available by clicking here:
For the 2003-2004 NMHSSA 11th Grade Math Results by District
For the 2003-2004 NMHSSA 11th Grade Math Results by High School
For the 2003-2004 NMHSSA 11th Grade Reading Results by District
For the 2003-2004 NMHSSA 11th Grade Reading Results by High School
For the 2003-2004 NMHSSA 11th Grade State Performance Level Summary Report

A total of 19,757 11th-grade students took the reading assessment and 19,643 took the math assessment. The total number of students tested includes those who attempted at least five of the first 15 items in a content area. Only two percent of 11th-grade students did not take the exam. The assessment measures student performance against the state’s academic standards

“Our commitment is to ensure that not even one child leaves our public education system with a substandard education. We must focus on improving our high schools so that all students leave prepared and able to successfully pursue postsecondary education and training or join the work force as a highly skilled employee,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García.

She proposed three major initiatives to improve the state’s high schools and bring students to 100% proficiency in reading and math. These include completing the work underway by representatives from public and higher education and the Legislature to redesign and revitalize the state’s high schools, promoting rigorous academics particularly in math and expanding the Jobs for New Mexico Graduates (JAG) program, aimed at dropout prevention.

“Let me be clear -- the three units of math needed to graduate from high school must include Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or their equivalents or higher,” she said. “We must come to a place in New Mexico where employers can trust that a high school graduate will have high school-level skills. To do this, our students must successfully complete four years of English and math, through Algebra II.”

To ensure student test compliance, Secretary Dr. García proposed a new regulation requiring local school districts to record a student’s test results on his or her official transcript, including the student’s scale scores for reading and math and his or her associated proficiency levels. “We must guarantee that all involved – educators, parents and students – are aware of the importance of this test and the high stakes that await its outcome,” she said. The regulation, if approved, would take effect in 2005.

The results show Caucasian students performing ahead of all ethnic groups. “The results by student category show the state’s achievement gap, particularly between Caucasians and Asians and Hispanics, Blacks and American Indians. This gap is unacceptable,” said Secretary Dr. García.

The performance levels by ethnicity are as follows: Caucasian Black Hispanic Asian American Indian
Reading Proficient or Above 72% 44% 47% 66% 38%
Math Proficient or Above 63% 34% 37% 72% 31%


Secretary Dr. García said that the two great commonalities are poverty and language. For economically disadvantaged students, 44% are at proficient or above in reading and 35% are at proficient or above in math, and for English Language Learners, 32% are at proficient or above in reading and 27% are at proficient or above in math.

“Our scores are clearly impacted by the issues of poverty and language. But this cannot serve as an excuse for low performance. We must raise our expectations for all students,” she said. “New Mexico has the lowest percentage in the nation of high school students (31 percent) who successfully complete Algebra II or higher. If we are to raise the bar for all students in New Mexico, things must, and will, change.”

The top performing schools in reading in the state are Los Alamos High in Los Alamos with 91% proficient or above; Southwest Secondary Learning Center in Albuquerque with 86%; Dora High in Dora with 82%; Grady High in Grady with 82%; East Mountain High in Albuquerque with 81%; La Cueva High in Albuquerque with 81%; Animas High in Animas with 79%; Cloudcroft High in Cloudcroft with 77%; Texico High in Texico with 77%; Goddard High in Roswell with 76%; and Santa Fe High in Santa Fe at 76%.

In math, the top performing schools are Los Alamos High in Los Alamos with 89% proficient or above; Hagerman High in Hagerman with 82%; La Cueva High in Albuquerque with 76%; Quemado High in Quemado with 75%; Texico High in Texico with 75%; Cliff High in Silver City with 75%; East Mountain High in Albuquerque with 74%; Grady High in Grady with 73%; Goddard High in Roswell with 72%; Cloudcroft High in Cloudcroft with 71%; and Dora High in Dora at 71%.