Santa Fe students' test scores improve slightly

Here’s an oddity: Although more than a third of children in the Santa Fe public schools speak Spanish at home and 16 percent are enrolled in bilingual programs, students in the district rank lower than the national average in Spanish on standardized advanced placement tests.

However, in many other areas, Santa Fe students rank higher than or equal to the state or national average.

In the standardized Iowa Test of Basic Skills, given to all third-, fifth- and eighth-graders, Santa Fe students in the third and fifth grades rank equal to or higher than the state average almost across the board. In eighth grade, the scores for the last three years are slightly below the state average.

The district tracks test scores for each school and compares the scores to other schools in the district, state and national averages and to the school’s own scores from previous years.

For ITBS, the main standardized test for younger children, kids at Acequia Madre Elementary have improved their scores the most in the last three years, while Tesuque Elementary’s scores have dropped the most.

For the Portfolio Writing Assignment, administered to fourth-, sixth- and eighth-graders, the Santa Fe students scored higher than the state average in all three grades. The Portfolio assignment tests students’ ability to write clearly and logically.

For high school students, the main test is the ACT, which is required for admission into most colleges and universities. Not all students take the ACT in Santa Fe, about 54 percent of graduating seniors take the test.

In Santa Fe, the average ACT composite scores have been higher than national and state averages the last three years. But Santa Fe High School outshines Capital High in that area Santa Fe High’s scores are far above averages, while Capital’s are just below averages.

The school district has available copies of the 1996-97 Accountability Report which details each school’s test scores and compares them to other schools and averages. The report also details results of a survey which asked parents and students how happy they are with Santa Fe schools.

Call the district at 982-2631 for information.

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