By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The New Mexico Public Education Department released results Oct. 9 from the state-mandated — and somewhat controversial — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. Area school administrators are trying to understand what they mean.
Students across the state were tested in nine categories: English language arts for grades nine through 11; algebra one and two; geometry and three levels of integrated math.
There were strong scores in English language arts recorded for the Logan High School students who were tested, said Logan Superintendent Dennis Roch.
PARCC includes five performance levels — level one being expectations from students taking the exam have not been met and level five being students who have “exceeded expectations,” according to an NMPED news release.
Roch said of most of the scores for the language arts, “We are in the level four category.” He said those scores were expected as language arts lends itself more for a higher-order thinking that is beyond basic comprehension of the material.
Roch said like many schools, Logan High School had mixed scoring in the math portions of the test. He said Logan students did not perform as well on match as they did in English language arts.
Tucumcari Schools Assistant Superintendent Dave Johnson said their students also posted greater scores for English language arts than in math.
Johnson said PARCC has set a new proficiency base line and the scores were expected to be lower but parents should not be overly concerned. He said even state officials with the NMPED have stated the PARCC was a more difficult test and across the state the scores were expected to reflect that difficulty.
Roch said the results show that teachers in Logan and across the state are going to have to change how they teach math. He said this goes along with the goal of Common Core math, which seeks to help students develop a higher order of thinking.
“The PARCC testing is ensuring that schools are doing all that they can to help students be ready for college,” Roch said.
Roch said I like many administrators across the state knew going in that PARCC had raised the bar because Common Core increases what students are asked to know. He said, “This is going to take us some time to get these scores where we want them.” Roch said it’s not just about graduating students anymore; it’s about getting them ready for the next stage of their education.
“Graduation is no longer a goal onto itself, but is instead a milestone, to what students will accomplish after high school,” Roch said.
Johnson said Tucumcari School officials have drafted a letter that they will send to parents explaining the reason for the lower scores. He said they do not want parents to become concerned with the results of the testing. “This just shows that the schools are going to have to work harder to ensure that the students are not just graduating but are prepared to continue their education after graduation,” Johnson added.
San Jon and House schools had too few students for the PARCC testing.
An overall score for each school was not provided.
Scores can be viewed online at http://ped.state.nm.us
Click on the “PARCC Facts” button and then select “New Mexico PARCC Results Dashboard.” From there, viewers can select specific school districts and categories.
According to the release, New Mexico raised the academic bar for students and developed a “better test aligned to those standards.”
CMI Staff Writer Brittney Cannon contributed to this report.