June 18, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

New Mexico's TerraNova Results Reflect No Change for Public School Students

(Santa Fe, NM)--Statewide testing results released today by the Public Education Department (PED) show that student achievement in New Mexico is holding steady as compared to national averages. The results come from the spring 2004 administration of the TerraNova, The Second Edition, Complete Battery, administered to approximately 121,000 public school students in Grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9. (Grades 4 and 8 were administered the Standards-Based [criterion-referenced] Assessment.)

“The test results show no substantial change in student achievement from previous years. What is of grave concern is the persistent achievement gap between children from families from different income levels. While this year’s results will not be used to determine school ratings, they still provide valuable information to parents and teachers,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García. “Further, the performance of Hispanic, Black and American Indian students is significantly below that of Caucasian and Asian/Pacific Islander students. As an educational community we must take aggressive steps to close the gap. The PED will deploy its no excuses approach as it launches Project Excel.”

The TerraNova compares student achievement in New Mexico to students nationally. The results show that New Mexico’s students are performing close to the national averages in all content areas – reading, language, math, science and social studies.

The median national percentile is 50. In reading, New Mexico’s third grade students had a median national percentile of 52.9 (52.4 last year), followed by 55.5 for fifth grade (54.9 last year), 52.5 for sixth grade (52.6 last year), 50.9 for seventh grade (51.3 last year) and 52.6 for ninth grade (52.8 last year).

In language, third graders had a median national percentile of 56.6 (55 last year), followed by 55.6 for fifth grade (56 last year), 56 for sixth grade (55.8 for last year), 58.7 for seventh grade (58 last year) and 54.5 for ninth grade (54.7 last year).

In math, third grade students had a median national percentile of 54.1 (53.7 last year), followed by 50.9 for fifth grade (50.3 last year), 50.4 for sixth grade (49.6 last year), 49.3 in seventh grade (48.8 last year) and 51.4 in ninth grade (51.6 last year). Scores in science ranged from a high of 53.4 in third grade to a low of 48.9 in seventh grade and performance in social studies ranged from a high of 54.3 in third grade to a low of 42.4 in ninth grade.

To access the testing results in all content areas and student categories, please click below;

TerraNova Median National Percentiles Grades 3 5-7 9

Grade 3 Ethnicity

Grade 5 Ethnicity

Grade 6 Ethnicity

Grade 7 Ethnicity

Grade 9 Ethnicity

Grade 3 Economic Disadvantage

Grade 5 Economic Disadvantage

Grade 6 Economic Disadvantage

Grade 7 Economic Disadvantage

Grade 9 Economic Disadvantage

Grade 3 Gender

Grade 5 Gender

Grade 6 Gender

Grade 7 Gender

Grade 9 Gender


In every grade and content area, economically disadvantaged students performed at lower percentiles that non-economically disadvantaged students. The greatest discrepancy was in reading in grade 5, where non-economically disadvantaged students scored at 65.8 and economically disadvantaged students scored at 40.4.

Scores for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students were substantially higher than the scores reported for all other ethnic groups. In third grade science, for example, Caucasian students scored at 66.2 and Asian/Pacific Islander students cored at 59.4. But Hispanics scored at 46.1, African-Americans scored at 44.7 and American Indians scored at 38.7.

“Even though the TerraNova results will not drive school ratings, they should be used by schools and school districts to drive critical decisions related to teaching and learning,” said Secretary Dr. García.

The PED will announce school ratings in August. For the first time, ratings will be based on the results of the 2004 administration of the Standards-Based (criterion-referenced) assessment. The results from that assessment, in grades 4, 8 and 11, will be released in mid-summer.