New Mexico

Academic Achievement

Despite improvement since our last report, student performance in New Mexico is very weak—the state ranks among the lowest in the nation. Fourth graders and 8th graders stand 13 percentage points below the national average in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam. The national average is 34% for 4th graders and 35% for 8th graders.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

New Mexico earns a low grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 15% of low-income 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam. 

Return on Investment

Student achievement in New Mexico is very low relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

New Mexico posts above average marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

New Mexico earns a failing grade preparing its students for college and careers. At 74%, the state’s four-year high school graduation rate is among the lowest in the country, and only 12 students out of 100 pass an AP exam.

21st Century Teacher Force

New Mexico does a weak job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The Land of Enchantment does poorly in expanding the pool of teachers. 

Parental Options

New Mexico does an average job providing parents with strong school choice options. The state has a solid charter school law and an increasing number of digital options.

Data Quality

New Mexico earns a good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. Specifically, the state links student performance data to teacher data and provides public reports on high school performance. 


New Mexico receives an average grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Students have access to an increasing number of high-quality digital learning options, but the state could improve the necessary digital learning infrastructure.

International Competitiveness

New Mexico earns a very low grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. Just 17% of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard. 

Fiscal Responsibility

New Mexico receives below average marks on fiscal responsibility, with only 63% of the state’s pension funded.