See the statewide standardized testing

statistics Santa Fe Public School administrators use to show academic progress--even as the New Mexico Public Education Department reports declining aptitudes.


This week's news offers an exploration of two vastly different interpretations of standardized testing data--one promulgated by SFPS officials in a report published Feb. 17, the same day the school board voted to renew Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez' contract, and the other published as raw data by NMPED.

Who's got it right? Read the story...and see for yourself in the interactive graphics below.

The New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment, the statewide test both SFPS and PED use to calculate their data, is administered to all New Mexico students in grades 3-8 and 11. Calculating the change in high school students' performance, therefore, should be an easy prospect: Simply take 11th-graders' scores from 2008-09 and 2009-10 and measure the difference.

That's what SFR did with PED's raw data (red bars), which showed

across-the-board decreases i

n performance. Despite purporting to use the same data,

SFPS didn't get the same results:

#2: Middle School Reading

More significant discrepancies lie in SFPS' calculation of reading proficiency among middle-schoolers. SFPS officials tell SFR the differences in the district's and the state's numbers exist because SFPS groups its categories by particular school, not by grade level--but that doesn't explain how declines in every grade a middle school might include can translate into overall proficiency gains.

#3: Reading Skills of Elementary-Age English Language Learners

According to PED, English Language Learners in Santa Fe public schools showed declines in reading proficiency between 2008-09 and 2009-10 testing periods.

SFPS officials told SFR the differences come from Santa Fe's unique school groupings, which may include K-5, K-6 and K-8 schools in its definition of "elementary." But even adding 6th grade scores to the mix wouldn't seem to change things, since decreases in proficiency among 6th grade English language learners were among the starkest: