Test required to graduate

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Socorro High School Principal Craig DeYoung said reading scores have improved from last year’s 28 percent, and the math scores also were an improvement from 30.8 percent to 44 percent. This year is the highest the percentages have been so far, said DeYoung.

According to NMPED, on a scaled score between zero and 80 percent, students need to pass 40 percent or higher of the questions to be proficient. The SBA test has a variety of questions, including multiple choice, short answer and essay, DeYoung said.

According to the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) website, the Standard Based Assessment (SBA) test scores had a low percentage of Socorro High School juniors who are not proficient in math at 43.1 percent, and 47.7 percent proficient in reading. Sophomores and juniors take the test, but juniors need to pass in order to graduate. “Seniors who aren’t proficient will have a chance to re-take an area, and also in the spring to graduate with peers,” DeYoung said.

Graduation percentages for New Mexico high schools are based on a six year rate, starting freshman year when the student begins high school. Whether a student stays or transfers to another school is also factored in. There are various factors and variables that determine how high or how low the graduation percentages will be at the end of senior year, DeYoung said. According to the NMPED website of the statistics for New Mexico high school graduation percentages, Socorro’s four-year graduation percentage for 2011 is at 76.0 percent of student graduates. The New Mexico average is 63 percent.

“The questions are different, there are different resources that are tested,” DeYoung said. “Teachers will shape instructional practices and assessments and what students will encounter on the SBA.”

According to the NMPED statistics report card for New Mexico schools, Socorro High School received a B for the 2011-12 school year. The school received high scores in college and career readiness with 11 out of 15 points, and 11th graders’ performance improvements were 14.6 points out of 15. To prepare future students for SBA tests, students will practice with reading and math scores along with more instructional activities to prepare them for the SBA, because there’s always room for improvement, DeYoung said.

“Our goal will always be to continue to serve Socorro students and increase student achievement. We want to get better at what we do,” DeYoung said.