New Mexico

Public Education Department

300 Don Gaspar

                                                                    Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501-2786

Dr. Veronica C. García                                                                                                                                   

Secretary of Education


Beverly Friedman

Public Information Officer



Press Release


For Immediate Release:  October 19, 2005



State's 2005 4th and 8th Grade NAEP Reading and Math Scores Remain Stable Over the Past Two Years

(Santa Fe, NM)—New Mexico's 4th and 8th grade student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment in 2005 remained stable as compared to scores from 2003, according to the NAEP National Report Card, released today. 

About 20% or 10,700 New Mexico students from 279 public schools and 66 New Mexico school districts participated in the 2005 NAEP math and reading assessments.  This year’s results reflected only a two-year span from the last NAEP test; the test had been administered every three to four years in the past.  Results for the science portion of the NAEP will be released in the spring of 2006. 

Overall trends in New Mexico mirror those across the nation, with no significant change in scores over the past two years.  Long-term national trends indicate math scores have improved significantly since 1992 and that reading scores have decreased. 

New Mexico’s fourth graders reading scores have gone up four points in the last two years.  Fourth grade math also went up one point.  Eighth grade reading fell by one point, and there was no change in the eighth grade math scores.

New Mexico Education Secretary Dr. Veronica C. García recently released a first-ever statewide report card, part of Governor Bill Richardson’s “Making Schools Work” initiative, that shows that New Mexico schools are making progress, but we have many obstacles to overcome.

“During the dozen community conversations I have hosted across New Mexico, it is obvious that students can do more than they are being asked.  We need to increase the rigor of our coursework.  We also need to partner more closely with parents and communities.   Dr. García continued,  “I am committed to closing the achievement gap and ensuring that every child is prepared to succeed.”

New Mexico’s NAEP scores are similar to many other states with high levels of poverty and English Language Learners,” said Dr. García.  “The test is another indication of how our schools are performing and the work that needs to be done, but I question how these results are going to help us identify the schools and districts that need assistance. There is no real accountability with the NAEP test because it does not report district, school, or individual student results. Therefore schools do not place as much emphasis or importance on NAEP as our New Mexico standards based assessment test.” 

Progress was observed in improving scores and closing the achievement gap of Native American students in 4th grade reading and math.  The 8th grade Native American students also made statistically significant increases in math scores, but 8th grade reading showed no substantial change from the previous test.

“We will compare these national results with our Standards Based Assessment results,” continued Dr. García.  “We continue to keep our efforts strong to improve the overall performance to the most needy districts and schools in the state, while encouraging all districts and teachers to follow the state standards in all grade levels.  Over the next two years we will have data that will allow us to compare achievement results within New Mexico and nationally.”

New Mexico’s average 4th grade math score was 224, a score that was lower than the national average of 237 for 2005 on a scale of 0-500. For 8th grade math, New Mexico’s average scale score of 263, lower than the national average of 278.  The percentage of New Mexico’s 4th grade students, who performed at or above proficient in math, rose in 2005 to 19% from 17% in 2003. And for 8th grade, proficiency was 14% compared to 15% in 2003.

For 4th grade reading, the average scale score for students in 2005 of 207 was lower than the national scale scores of 217.  The percentage of students performing at or above proficiency was 20% in 2005, which was not significantly different from the 19% in 2003.  For 8th grade reading, the average scale score for students in 2005 of 251 was not found to differ significantly from that in 2003 (252).  The national scale score was 260 for 8th grade. The percentage for students who performed at or above proficient was 19% for 2005 and 20% for 2003.

For more information on NAEP and New Mexico results go to and click on the NAEP link or go to