SFPS student proficiency on the 2021-22 New Mexico Measures of Student Success & Achievement (NM-MSSA), which measures proficiency in grades 3-8, closely aligns with New Mexico’s student proficiency. A deeper analysis, however, shows that SFPS’ absent students in these grades have greatly reduced proficiency in English language arts (ELA) and math.
As shown below, SFPS students in grades 3-8 with daily attendance of 96-100% had 44% proficiency in ELA as compared to 17% for students with an attendance rate of 80% or below. For math, students in grades 3-8 with a 96-100% attendance rate had 35% proficiency as compared to eight percent for those with an attendance rate of 80% or below.
“The lower proficiency rates for frequently absent students are startling and a wake-up call for parents, students and educators as to the importance of attending school each and every day. When students are not in class, they are not learning,” said Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez. “With this news, we are issuing an urgent appeal to parents and families to make school attendance a priority each day,” he said.
“I am extremely confident that our plan to address learning loss, announced in April 2022, is on target. The plan includes phasing in innovative standards-based learning and grading in schools, forging community partnerships for high-quality after-school programs and focusing on student absenteeism and reengagement. Implementation began in June and continues full steam ahead.
“Students must be present in school and have their social and emotional needs met. The NM-MSSA results further our resolve to ensure that all students are able to thrive and graduate. We can and will reverse learning loss in our schools,” he said.
SFPS is ensuring attendance is taken daily for every period and expanding the number of attendance coaches to work in schools to build relationships. Parent/teacher meetings, home visits and weekly student meetings with principals are slated for those frequently absent (more than 10 days). Each school’s attendance team will be supported by Teen Court, CYFD and the Santa Fe Police Department, which may be asked to make wellness checks on those with excessive absences.
Overall, SFPS student proficiency in grades 3-8 is closely aligned with New Mexico’s proficiency scores for each grade level in the three areas tested on the NM-MSSA: ELA, math and science. For example, 36% of students were proficient and advanced in ELA for grade 4 in SFPS and the state. For grade 8, 33% of students in SFPS and the state were proficient and advanced.
Student proficiency for SFPS and the state is provided below by grade level for ELA and math.
SFPS student proficiency in grades 3-8 in ELA on the English assessment, as indicated at the bottom of the above chart, was similar to New Mexico statewide proficiency for grades 3-8 for novice (red), nearing proficiency (yellow), proficient (blue) and advanced (green).
Overall, students in New Mexico in grades 3-8 generally had lower math proficiency and advanced proficiency. SFPS students were lower in grades 4, 5, 7 and 8 and higher in grades 3 and 6.
“Last year was an adoption year for math. SFPS is in the midst of ensuring all teachers receive critical professional development on our new math curriculums, that all curriculums are implemented with fidelity and that students receive math interventions to meet their needs,” said Superintendent Chavez. Last year, SFPS purchased Savvas for K-5, ST Math as an intervention for elementary and new algebra, geometry and math curriculum for high schools.
Overall, students had lower proficiency and advanced proficiency on the Spanish assessments.
“We need to work intensely to address proficiency among our Spanish-speaking students. The number of students taking the Spanish assessment in some grades was low, making it difficult to accurately gauge the results. Still, we must raise the bar for these students. We are certain that our plan to address learning loss will greatly assist them,” said Superintendent Chavez.
Statewide and SFPS comparisons for students who were proficient and advanced in grades 3-8 in ELA (Spanish) are as follows: Grade 3: NM 13%/SFPS 4% (90 SFPS students tested); Grade 4: NM 14%/SFPS 3% (69 SFPS students tested); Grade 5: NM 14%/SFPS 0% (17 SFPS students tested); Grade 6: NM 6%/SFPS 10% (18 SFPS students tested); Grade 7: NM 11%/SFPS 10% (20 SFPS students tested); and Grade 8: NM 13%/SFPS 12% (16 SFPS students tested).
Students who were proficient and advanced in grades 3-8 in math (Spanish) are as follows: Grade 3: NM 9%/SFPS 2% (92 SFPS students tested); Grade 4: NM 13%/SFPS 0% (63 SFPS students tested); Grade 5: NM 10%/SFPS 0% (17 SFPS students tested); Grade 6: NM 8%/SFPS 6% (17 SFPS students tested); Grade 7: NM 5%/SFPS 3% (29 SFPS students tested); and Grade 8 NM 3%/SFPS 0% (22 SFPS students tested).
Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 took the NM-MSSA science assessment. Again, SFPS and the state had similar results for those proficient and advanced. For the science (English) assessment, the results for students proficient and advanced were as follows: Grade 5: NM 31%/SFPS 27%; Grade 8: NM 29%/SFPS 24%; and Grade 11: NM 40%/SFPS 43%. For the science (Spanish) assessment, the results for students proficient and advanced were as follows: Grade 5: NM 27%/SFPS 0%; Grade 8: NM 14%/SFPS 11%; and Grade 11: NM 43%/SFPS 8%. For the science (Spanish) assessment, 17 SFPS students were tested in Grade 5, 18 were tested in Grade 8 and 13 were tested in Grade 11.
Standards-based learning and grading is a critical change that will impact student proficiency, said Superintendent Chavez. “Thirteen schools are implementing standards-based learning and grading, which is an innovative effort to ensure equity in learning. This follows careful planning over the past several years. As all schools move to this new system over the next two years, we expect to see improvements in student proficiency,” he said.
Importantly, SFPS’ new bell schedule allows time for professional learning communities or PLCs so teachers can enhance their teaching practices. “For the first time, PLCs are meeting in our secondary schools, not just elementary schools. With an extra two hours every week for PLCs to meet, we hope to change the learning dynamic,” he said.
This is the second year for students to take the NM-MSSA Cognia assessment. In 2020-21, participation in the assessment was voluntary. Due to SFPS participation below 10%, comparisons cannot be made between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 assessment results. In addition, in 2020-21 the state had not determined cut scores or the “threshold at which a candidate has achieved the passing standard” for the assessment. Assessments were administered in the spring of each school year.
SFPS will present in-depth results from the NM-MSSA to the SFPS Board of Education at an upcoming meeting.