Education officials disagree on SBA testing data

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Are Albuquerque students improving? State education administrators say yes, teachers unions say no. And both are pointing to the same set of testing data.

The Standards Based Assessment is a high stakes test tens of thousands of students take every year. Those latest numbers appear to show slightly fewer students reading at or above grade level.

Teacher’s union president Stephanie Ly said she is not surprised.

“We’ve been saying that this governor, her education policies are going to turn into a train wreck and this year it shows exactly what we thought would happen,” Ly said.

Since 2011, SBA test results show the percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level is down. Third grade math shows a similar drop. Juniors are a different story, their reading proficiency at that level has stayed flat. Math performance has ticked up.

The Public Education Department said those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

This year, about 25 percent of students took the SBA online and PED said those students performed far worse than those who didn’t. PED said student results are up about a percentage point if you don’t include the online results.

“This is the first year that our students had ever seen an online assessment so there definitely were some growing pains,” NM PED Dep. Secretary Leighann Lenti said.

“Our instructional strategies may not always match students being able to translate that into a computer-based test,” Rose-Ann McKernan with APS said.

APS said while it wanted to see better SBA numbers, the district looks at more than just standardized testing to see if students are improving or not.

Next year the state is moving toward a new test that’s expected to be more difficult for students. It’ll be online and based on national standards.

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