ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico student reading tests scores across the state rose slightly, but math scores remain stagnant, according to results released Monday

The new numbers show around 29 percent of students tested this spring are proficient or better in reading, and about 20 percent are proficient or better in math. That was a slight jump in reading scores from 2016 while math results fell .2 percentage points.

Still, the results revealed that since the introduction of assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, less than a third of all New Mexico students are proficient.

More than 80 percent of New Mexico public school students from grade 3 to 11 aren’t proficient in grade-level math.

And around 71 percent aren’t proficient in reading.

The tests, administered by New Mexico and 10 other states, are designed to show how well schools helped students from grades 3 to 11 meet Common Core standards.

New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said tests with more rigorous standards are what the 21st Century economy will require and all schools have the choice to make improvements.

“The overall picture is we are continuing to grow. We are on a steady upward climb,” Ruszkowski said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

He pointed out that more than 15,000 students are reading and doing math at grade-level since the test was introduced in 2015 and he expects that growth to continue.

Ruszkowski said the state’s largest district — Albuquerque Public Schools — is not showing progress in reading and state officials will again offer the opportunity for poor performing schools in the district to take part in the Principals Pursuing Excellence program. That mentorship program helped once struggling schools in Farmington and Gallup see growth in reading and math, Ruszkowski said.

A spokeswoman for Albuquerque Public Schools said the superintendent had been in meetings all day and hasn’t been reachable for comment.

State numbers show that schools that participated in the Principals Pursuing Excellence program saw a 2.2 percent jump in reading proficiency scores in 2017 while the state on average only saw a 1 percent rise.

Ruszkowski said he hoped more school districts take part in the program.

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly said Ruszkowski is blaming poor scores on entire public school districts, notably Albuquerque Public Schools, who have rejected public school reforms sought by Gov. Susana Martinez.

“It is now 2017, and other than continued low scores, New Mexico doesn’t have much to show for its tens-of-millions of dollars wasted on the PARCC exam,” Ly said. “Coupled with the continued high-stakes graduation and retention decisions made based on the results of PARCC, it is truly sad the secretary continues to jeopardize our student’s futures in such a callous way.”


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