SANTA FE, New Mexico — A majority of New Mexico's public schools improved or maintained their letter grade reflecting performance this year, but an increasing number of schools received a D or F, the Public Education Department announced Thursday.
Nearly two-fifths of schools — 332 — were graded an A or B, slightly more than the 323 receiving a D or F.
The number of schools receiving a D or F increased by nearly 7 percent, while those getting A or B grew by about 8 percent. Schools getting a C dropped by 18 percent from 230 last year to 188 this year.
The department said 71 percent of schools improved or maintained their letter grades from last year. That was roughly the same as last year.
The grades assigned by the state depend heavily on the growth of student performance on standards-based tests taken last spring. Other factors include a survey of students about learning opportunities in their school. Graduation rates and participation in college entrance exams also play a role in the grades for high schools.
Statewide, 88 schools earned an A — up from 82 last year. A total of 244 schools got a B compared with 224 last year.
The number of schools with a D grew to 230 from 218 last year. Schools getting an F increased to 93 from 85 last year.
"School grades are an important tool that education leaders, community leaders and parents can use to identify where students are struggling and intervene in targeted ways to help them," Gov. Susana Martinez said in a statement.
This is the third year for the A-to-F grading program, which Martinez pushed for when she took office. The grades replaced an unpopular pass-or-fail approach for rating schools under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
The department said there was a 55 percent increase in the number of elementary and middle schools getting an A or B. And like last year, no high school received an F.
Public Education Department school grades: http://bit.ly/1lA0GnX