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RR students' reading scores top state's

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The percentage of Rio Rancho High juniors who are proficient in reading is significantly higher than the state average and shows a double-digit gain over the school's 2012 score.

The figures are based on the number of students who scored at or above proficient on the state's Standards Based Assessment this year.

According to the New Mexico Public Education Department, 80 percent of the school's 11th-graders are proficient or above while the statewide average is 55.5 percent.

The Rio Rancho High figure is also a double-digit gain over its 2012 reading proficiency numbers of 66.7 percent.

Districtwide, the percentage of those proficient in reading is 66 percent compared to 64.3 percent last year.

This year's districtwide figure for math is 57.7 percent, while last year's was 60.3, according to district figures.

Superintendent Sue Cleveland called the gains at Rio Rancho High "impressive."

"I give the credit to the instructional leader and the teachers in that department," she said. "Those folks have worked really hard."

Principal Richard VonAncken said the improvement is the result of schoolwide concentrated efforts to improve reading skills for all students.

"Whether they are in science, math or an elective, we emphasize reading," he said. "We focus on reading everywhere."

Cleveland High also saw an increase in 11th-grade reading scores from 73.8 to 78.2 percent.

The district made progress on closing the reading achievement gap for Hispanic and low-income 11th-graders. Hispanic juniors districtwide went from 59.8 percent to 71.1 percent, while low-income students improved from 53.2 percent to 66.3 percent.

Both schools, however, did see a slight dip in their math scores. Cleveland fell about two percentage points to 68.1 and Rio Rancho High dropped the same amount to 60.8 percent.

The district had a bright spot among its middle schools. Eagle Ridge, which has struggled with student achievement, saw gains in math and reading.

The news was not as great for elementary schools. Many scores stayed flat or decreased slightly. Vista Grande was the only elementary school to see gains in both math and reading.

Reading proficiency jumped from 66.7 percent to 71.1 percent and math from 62.4 percent to 66.5 percent.

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