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Posted: September 1, 2022

APS Test Scores Will Establish a Baseline for Improving Student Outcomes

The results from the first state assessment students took in three years show the impacts of the pandemic.

On Thursday, Sept. 1, the New Mexico Public Education Department released the first student assessment results since the pandemic sent the nation’s schools spinning into crisis mode. The results came from two tests New Mexico students took for the first time last spring:

  • The Measures of Student Success and Achievement for students in grades 3-8
  • The SAT School Day Grade exam for high school juniors

The tests replaced PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which the state’s students last took in 2019. State assessments were waived in 2020 due to the pandemic and were voluntary in 2021.

The results for Albuquerque Public Schools show the heavy impacts of the pandemic. Just over a third of students in grades 3-8 are proficient in English/Language Arts, and about a fourth are proficient in math. In high school, four out of 10 students were proficient in English and writing, and just under a fourth were proficient in math.

Because the tests are so different than those taken in the past, it’s hard to compare results to previous years, noted APS Superintendent Scott Elder. Instead, schools will use them to establish a baseline for targeting instruction to improve student outcomes.

“No one knows better than our students, teachers, and principals that learning loss caused by the pandemic is real,” Superintendent Elder said. “The test results show that our students aren’t where they need to be. We will use this information to set new baselines for student success and zero in on the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic to guarantee students get the support they need to catch up and excel.”

APS and its Board of Education have recently identified new strategies to improve student academic outcomes and are actively setting those plans in motion. Four of the seven board members are new.

“Our focus is student achievement,” said Board President Yolanda Montoya Cordova. “The Board of Education is charged with setting educational strategy for the district to bring about the progress we all want and need, and our students deserve.”

Stability, opportunity, and innovation continue to drive the APS school district. Progress will happen over time with steady, careful, and meaningful hard work. Some of the initiatives already in place that will make a difference to our students include:

  • Historic pay raises for all educators who no longer have to leave the state to earn their worth.
  • The development of a plan for districtwide opportunities for focused tutoring before, during, and after the school day.
  • Providing students greater access to grade-level content by ensuring they have access to digital devices.
  • Investing tens of millions of dollars into our schools to improve safety and working conditions for healthy learning environments.
  • National recruitment of teachers to ensure our students have highly qualified professionals to learn from during the nation’s teacher shortage.
  • Investing in differentiated professional development for our school leaders to elevate the leadership, systems, instruction, and culture in their schools, which will lead to positive student outcomes.
  • Investing in an early literacy program for our youngest learners to afford them a strong foundation in reading, writing, and language skills.
  • More professional development to support high school mathematics instruction.
  • Working cross-departmentally to gather data for use in instructional, budgetary, and policy decisions.