Achievement Assessment Information and Results

Students sitting at computers

This year, Rio Rancho along with all school districts in New Mexico began the transition to new achievement tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. The assessments given students in the spring of 2019 were the first step in this transition away from PARCC.

Like its predecessor, the assessment -- known as the New Mexico Standards Based Transition Assessment of Math and English Language Arts (TAMELA) -- is a tough test of what students know and are able to do at each grade level. It is shorter, reducing the amount of time students are pulled away from classroom instruction for testing. Results can be compared with those from previous years, since TAMELA maintains the level of rigor and tests the same standards as the previous test.

The New Mexico Public Education Department is continuing development of a permanent assessment to replace PARCC.  RRPS has been collaborating with the PED as they refine assessments with the objective of fairly measuring student understanding and improving instruction.  

About Achievement TestingStudents testing

Lile all achievement tests, the New Mexico Standards-Based Transition Assessment of Mathematics and English Language Arts is designed to determine students' knowledge of material they learn in the classroom throughout the year. This material, called "standards," simply defines what your child should learn at each grade level.  Most states throughout the country, including New Mexico, have adopted the Common Core State Standards.  These standards were developed by educators, content-area experts, and business leaders throughout the country to provide some consistency in what students should know and be expected to do regardless of where they live.

Some facts about standards-based testing in New Mexico

Students are expected to do more than answer questions. They are required to explain how they arrived at the answers. For example, in reading, they must justify their answer by citing specific passages within the text. In math, they not only must give the answer to a problem, but explain how they arrived at the answer and apply that information to solving further problems. Students also have time limits (60-90 minutes, depending on the grade level and unit) in which to complete portions of the test.

Students in grades 3-11 take the test online. 
In order to demonstrate what they know, students need good keyboarding skills to be able to type responses to questions without first writing them down, to use a mouse, to be able to select, drag, and drop objects and text, highlight text, and use a calculator and equation builder on the computer.

Do standards-based test results affect promotion or graduation?

The results from the annual achievement assessments are not included in a student's classroom grade, and New Mexico does not require that students achieve a particular score in order to be promoted to the next grade level. However, it is possible that a student's scale score could be one of many measures used by the parent and school staff members to determine appropriate grade level or instructional placement.

Scores on standards-based assessments can affect graduation. The state requires that students pass a "high school competency exam" in order to earn a diploma. The standards-based assessment currently doubles as the competency exam for reading, writing, and mathematics. A passing score on the English 11 test and on either the Geometry or Algebra II tests meet the graduation testing requirement. 
StudeDiploma and Graduation Hatsnts will have more than one chance to pass the tests. Once a student has exhausted the opportunities to achieve a passing score on the standards-based assessments, alternative means of demonstrating competency can be considered to qualify a student for graduation. 

Man helping student

How can I help my student prepare for testing?
See the column at right for some great resources you can use!

Get your kids on the computer! Have them practice typing, selecting text, dragging and dropping, using a mouse, and using an online calculator. Click here for links to FREE websites you can use to help your child acquire good keyboarding skills so they are able to easily demonstrate what they know when they take the tests.

Ask questions when helping your student with homework. Instead of simply helping your child with questions or problems, go deeper! For example, ask your children questions about what they have read, and then ask them to point out something in the text that supports their answer. Or in math, ask them to describe how they arrived at an answer, or better yet, to write it down.