Farmington district has 43 percent English proficiency score

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington Municipal School District registered the highest English proficiency score of the 10 largest school districts in the state for this year's PARCC exam.

The New Mexico Public Education Department recently released the results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, exam in English and math for students in third through 11th grades for the 2017-2018 school year.

The exam tests the proficiency of students in the two subjects and assesses them a score on a five-point scale. Students who earn level 4 and 5 scores have met or exceeded proficiency.

Statewide, students who met or exceeded proficiency in English increased from 28.6 percent in the 2016-17 school year to 31.1 percent last school year, according to data released from the state education department.

The number of students statewide who met or exceeded proficiency in math increased from 19.7 percent to 21.6 percent.

In San Juan County, Farmington schools had a 4 percentage point increase in their English score from 39 percent to 43 percent of students who met or exceeded proficiency.

The English score increased by 18 percentage points from the 2015-2016 school year score of 25 percent.

Farmington schools outperformed Rio Rancho Public Schools as the top district among the 10 largest districts in the state, which had an English score of 40.8 percent.

Farmington Superintendent Gene Schmidt said he was excited for the district's students, teachers and administration about the continued growth.

"It's really important to say, 'Great work, students, teachers and the community because I do see families becoming engaged in the learning of their children and see kids taking ownership of their learning," Schmidt said.

For math, state education data shows Farmington schools maintaining its 26 percent rate of students who met or exceeded proficiency.

A handout provided by Farmington schools states math proficiency increased from 25.2 percent to 26.5 percent for the last school year.

Nathan Pierantoni, assistant director of performance and accountability, said improvements in the middle schools helped drive the increase of students who met or exceeded proficiency in English.

Seventh-grade students saw an increase of 13 percentage points from 33 percent to 46 percent of students who met or exceeded proficiency in English.

Students in the Central Consolidated School District saw an increase of 6 percentage points in English, going from 21 percent to 27 percent.

Math scores picked up 3 percentage points from nearly 11 percent to nearly 14 percent.

CCSD spokesperson Renee Lucero said the district has something to celebrate with the increases in scores.

"We definitely attribute that work to the teachers, and we are celebrating that hard work today," Lucero said.

Seventh-grade students saw an increase of 10 percentage points from nearly 6 percent to nearly 16 percent of students who met or exceeded proficiency in math, according to state education department data.

Lucero said math is a "big area" the district has focused on a lot last year. CCSD officials are keeping an eye on students transitioning from algebra 1 to geometry as algebra 1 scores were down from nearly 10 percent to nearly 7 percent.

Geometry scores went up from nearly 6 percent to nearly 10 percent, according to state education data.

Bloomfield Schools Superintendent Kim Mizell said her district saw increases in both subjects from third to sixth grade but struggled in the seventh and eighth grades.

Across the district, Bloomfield students saw an increase in math scores from nearly 10 percent to nearly 14 percent. English scores saw an incremental increase to 20 percent.

Third-grade English scores increased from nearly 14 percent to nearly 20 percent.

Mizell said the district's high school students continue to struggle with algebra 1 and 2. The two classes saw a small improvement as algebra 1 increased from nearly 7 percent to nearly 8 percent and algebra 2 from less than 4 percent to nearly 6 percent.

Mizell believes initiatives such as curriculum alignment that started three years ago are starting to pay off, but the district still has a long way to go.

Aztec students saw math and English scores increase for the last school year.

The Aztec Municipal School District had an increase in English from 24 percent to 28 percent and from nearly 17 percent to nearly 19 percent in math.

Aztec Superintendent Kirk Carpenter said he was happy with the improvement.

"I think our staff is working hard and doing the right kind of work," Carpenter said.

Third-grade English scores jumped from nearly 25 percent to nearly 35 percent as math scores increased from 28 percent to 36 percent.

Carpenter said the PARCC exam is just one of several data points Aztec schools uses and is less valuable for the process of learning. He added the district focuses on real-time testing, including interim assessments, to make adjustments to instruction and teaching.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

More: NM education secretary touts Farmington's improvement on PARCC test

County schools see minor improvements on PARCC

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