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Lovington sees big growth in math, reading

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Lovington sees big growth in math, reading

The Lovington School District earned high ratings in the New Mexico Public Education Department’s recent reading and mathematics assessment report.

Cabinet secretary Christopher N. Ruszkowski said in news conference Friday, “Lovington is the only district in the state of New Mexico in the top 20 largest that has made double-digit gains in reading and in math.”

The NMPED issued a report Thursday calling recent years of assessing student progress with the Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test successful, noting in 2018 there are 11,000 more students proficient in mathematics and 13,000 more proficient in reading than there were in 2015.

Comparing the 2018 PARCC test results to the 2015 test results, the first year of such testing, Ruszkowski said Lovington students went from 17 percent proficient to 31 percent proficient in reading.

Proficiency means performing work at the child’s grade level or above.

“That’s massive growth. In math, (Lovington students increased) from 14 percent proficient to 27 percent proficient,” Ruszkowski said. “Double-digit gains in both areas, the only large district in the state to show double-digit gains in both reading and math.”

The cabinet secretary began his press conference with plaudits for school personnel after reporting a statewide rise in both fields.

“All of the credit for our student progress goes to our teachers, principals, school superintendents, school boards and school leaders that are doing the hard work of improving the instruction and improving student outcomes every single day,” he said. “(They) have done remarkable work these past couple of years and that’s the reason our kids are on the rise, why New Mexico is on the rise.”

He singled out four school districts as leaders in instructional improvements — Farmington, Gallup, Gadsden and Hobbs.

“What we’ve seen in New Mexico over the last four years is unprecedented progress in both reading and math with more students than ever before truly college and career ready,” he said.

Labeling Hobbs in the list of “first wave” school districts, his report puts Lovington right behind.

“We’ve seen tremendous progress as a result of leading districts like that, we are seeing these incredible statewide gains,” he said. “We’re starting to see success is contagious.”

Ruszkowski listed Lovington as representing a second wave of school districts that included Los Lunas, Central Consolidated, Artesia, Texico and Roswell following the same trend.

“They have embraced higher standards, individualized instruction …, are investing more money directly into the classroom, and understand the power of regular formative and interim assessments at the local level,” he said.

Ruszkowski strongly urged New Mexico school districts to “stay the course.”

“If New Mexico stays on this trajectory of another 10,000 kids next year and another 10,000 kids the year after, we are going to quickly move in to being the fastest growing state in the country, just in the next three years,” Ruszkowski concluded. “That needs to be our goal.”

Data for smaller school districts in Lea County show Tatum at 45 percent in reading proficiency and 27 percent in math, Jal at 10 percent in reading and 9 percent in math, and Eunice at 21 percent in reading and 12 percent in math.

In 2015, Tatum scored 36 percent proficient in reading and 17 percent in math, Jal scored 57 percent in reading with no report for math due to the low number of students, and Eunice scored 22 percent in reading and 7 percent in math.

Burkett Shaw
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