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Graduation Requirements FAQs Collapse AllExpand All
  For students who dropped out and then returned, or students who take more than four years to graduate: What high school exit exam are students who did not graduate with their class required to take?
Students who return to school within two years of dropping out must complete the graduation requirements of the year in which they would have graduated. If students return to school after more than two years out, they are reassigned to a new graduating class (called a "cohort"). These students must meet the graduation requirements of their reassigned cohort.
This cohort reassignment policy went into effect in the fall of 2013. Students, who re-enrolled before January, 2014 are grandfathered into this policy and may meet the graduation requirements of the cohort in which they should have graduated until August 1, 2016. After August 1, 2016, these students must meet the graduation requirements of their reassigned cohort.

  What do students have to pass on the high school graduation assessment to demonstrate traditional (initial) competency?
Initial Demonstration of Competency - Classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015
Math And Reading
Students must achieve a composite score of 2273 on the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment (SBA), with neither individual score below nearing proficient. Students who have not met this requirement through any combination of math and reading assessments from all high school SBA administrations can use the ADC.
Science
Students must achieve a score of 38 on the New Mexico SBA as an H3 or H4 student. Students who have not met this requirement from all high school SBA administrations can use the ADC.
Social Studies
Students must pass a PED-produced or district-developed, PED-approved social studies EoC. Students who attempt, but do not pass, at least one social studies EoC may instead pass a social studies CCR indicator or another EoC as an ADC.
Writing
Students must pass a PED-produced or district-developed, PED-approved writing EoC or a writing CCR indicator.
Initial Demonstration of Competency—Classes of 2016 and 2017
Math And Reading
Students must achieve a composite score of 2273 on the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment (SBA), with neither individual score below nearing proficient, OR students must score a 3 on the PARCC assessment in both math and reading.
Science
Students must achieve a score of 38 on the New Mexico SBA or a 3 on the science PARCC test.
Social Studies
Students must pass a PED-produced or district-developed, PED-approved social studies EoC. Students who attempt but do not pass at least one social studies EoC may instead pass a social studies CCR indicator.
Writing
Students must pass the writing PARCC test with a 3.

  If students do not meet the Initial Demonstration of Competency, how do they demonstrate alternative competency?
Students who do not pass the Initial Demonstration of Competency may use the Alternate Demonstration of Competency (ADC). The PED has approved numerous assessments including EoCs, AP, PSAT, SAT, PLAN, ACT, Accuplacer, COMPASS, or IB exams. For details, see the ADC Manual or Graduation Checklists. Only for students graduating by August 1, 2014, districts and charter schools have the option to develop their own ADC that meets the standards-alignment and rigor set forth in NMAC 6.19.7.10.

  Which courses satisfy the English requirements?
The Courses designed to meet the English requirements can include:
  • STARS 1001 English/Language Arts I
  • STARS 1002 English/Language Arts II
  • STARS 1003 English/Language Arts III
  • STARS 1004 English/Language Arts IV
Note: Elective English courses that align to the New Mexico 9–12 English standards or higher may count towards fulfilling the requirements for graduation. Districts and charters must use the Graduation Waiver form to request permission. If the courses are college level courses and are part of a Dual Credit Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Graduation Waiver is not necessary.

  Which courses satisfy the mathematics requirements?
The courses designed to meet the mathematics requirements include:
STARS
Course Code
Course Name STARS
Course Code
Course Name
2031 Algebra I 2080 IMP-1
2034 Geometry 2081 IMP-2
2041 Algebra II 2082 IMP-3
2029 Probability and Statistics 2097 Financial Literacy
2053 Pre-Calculus 2024 Applied Math
2055 Calculus 2099 Transition to College Math
2058 AP Calculus AB 2059 AP Calculus BC
2060 AP Statistics
Note: Mathematics courses that align to the New Mexico 9–12 math standards or higher may count towards fulfilling the requirements for graduation. For students entering grade 9 in the 2009–2010 school year or thereafter, four units of mathematics are required, one of which is equivalent to, or higher than, the level of Algebra 2.
Note: Districts may develop policy to allow Dual Credit mathematics courses that require a student to meet a cut score on a postsecondary placement test to count toward the required four math units as long as the course meets or exceeds the PED's standards. All Dual Credit courses must meet or exceed the PED's standards and benchmarks.

  Is it prudent to allow a parent to waive the Algebra 2 requirement?
No. State rule at 6.29.1.9 NMAC allows parents to waive the Algebra II requirement for a student and replace it with a math course as determined by the student's Next Step Plan. If this student fails the HSGA in math, the student may take an EoC for the replacement math course.
We highly recommend that schools do not offer the Algebra II waiver for students on the standard pathway since the information and skills acquired in this course will help them as they prepare for high-stakes exams and success in college and career. Please note that the SBA and HSGA are aligned with the New Mexico state standards, not with courses. The way in which math departments allocate standards for coverage in specific classes depends on the school. We assume that every student will cover the full range of skills and content outlined in the standards in whichever four math courses they take in high school.

  What is the difference between a career cluster course and a workplace readiness course?
A career cluster course is an identified career-technical education course. These courses are part of an aligned, sequential series of courses within a related grouping of occupations in a given industry sector. Completing a series of career cluster courses may result in an industry-recognized certification or post-secondary degree and add relevance to the high school curricula. Career-Technical Education in the Standards of Excellence. This does not include courses already identified as meeting other specified graduation requirements.

  Which STARS Codes match the Electives districts are required to offer?
Some examples include:
  • Driver Education
    • STARS 0817—Drivers' Education—Classroom Only
  • Financial Literacy
    • STARS 2797—Social Studies
    • STARS 0517—Family and Consumer Science
    • STARS 0225—Business
  • Student Service Learning
    • STARS 2212—Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
    • STARS 0851—Community Service
    • Student Service Learning can also be an approach to education. STARS Codes for this include:
      • STARS 0137—Agricultural Leadership/Communication
      • STARS 0297—Business Work Experience (Co-op) (formerly Business Work Site Experience Cooperative Education – OJT)
      • STARS 1897—Marketing Mentorship and Internship
  • Media Literacy
    • STARS 0805—Media Literacy

  Do the Elective classes listed in Q8 have to be offered as one unit?
It is the district's decision whether to offer the courses for one unit or fewer. Some of the course codes listed above are for one unit, and some are for .5 units.

  What is the STARS Code for the Financial Literacy course that satisfies a 1 unit high school mathematics requirement?
STARS 2097—Financial Literacy—Mathematics

  May a teacher with a Social Studies endorsement teach the STARS 2097 Financial Literacy course?
No, a mathematics endorsement is required for STARS 2097. A social studies endorsement is required for STARS 2797.

  What is the definition of an "Honors" course?
Honors courses are developed locally to meet the needs of accelerated students. Honors classes offer the same curriculum that non-honors courses offer, but they are more challenging. Honors courses are generally faster paced and cover topics more in depth. However, these courses are not usually considered equivalent to college-level work. (See Section 22-13-1.4 NMSA 1978)

  Can Honors courses satisfy the requirement for "academically rigorous" courses in mathematics and language arts?
Yes.

  What is the definition of an Advanced Placement (AP) course?
AP courses are taught by highly qualified high school teachers who use the AP Course Descriptions to guide them. The course description for each discipline outlines the course content, describes the curricular goals of the subject, and provides sample examination questions. While the course descriptions are a significant source of information about the course content on which the AP Exams will be based, AP teachers have the flexibility to determine how this content is presented. Published in the spring of the school year before the course will be taught, the course descriptions are available in AP Central, accompanied by a course perspective written by an experienced AP teacher. These perspectives represent the personal viewpoints and teaching styles of their authors; however, the PED hopes they will provide insight and inspiration for other educators. AP courses are aligned to college rigor and go through a course audit from College Board to ensure the curriculum being taught meets its standards. AP courses are taught in the high schooland are aligned to meet high school standards and benchmarks.

  Can a Pre-AP course fulfill the AP credit requirement?

  Can AP or IB satisfy the requirement for "academically rigorous" classes in mathematics and language arts?
Yes.

  Must Honors, AP, and IB courses be offered for one unit?
Yes, the intention is for "academically rigorous" courses to be offered for one unit. 22-13-1.1. (G). Graduation requirements.
For students entering the ninth grade beginning in the 2009–2010 school year, at least one of the units required for graduation shall be earned as an AP or honors course, a dual-credit course offered in cooperation with an institution of higher education or a distance learning course.

  Can students mix and match components of the AP, honors, dual credit, or distance education requirement?
The intent is that a student receives instruction that spans the entire set of standards for a course, whether a half-unit course or a full-unit course and the one unit required by this law must be delivered by the same delivery method and model (AP or Honors or distance education or Dual Credit).

  To fulfill the academically rigorous requirement, can students take half a credit of Distance Ed Health and half a credit of Distance Ed NM History or half a credit of Distance Ed Economics and half a credit of Distance Ed Government?
Yes. The purpose of High School Redesign is to ensure that students are exposed to the entire set of standards that guide the specific course. Since these courses are half credit courses, students are exposed to all the standards for the course.

  Can students take half a credit of Distance Ed US History and half a credit of Distance Ed Algebra II?
No. The intent of the law is that students receive instruction aligned to the entire set of standards that guide the specific course. These two courses are not in the same discipline, so the student is not exposed to all the standards for the course.

  Can students take half a credit of an AP course and half a credit of an honors course or half a credit of an honors course and half a credit of a distance education course?
No. The intent of the law is that students take one unit of AP, Dual Credit, Honors, or Distance Learning. This is interpreted to mean that the entire unit is in the same course, so the student will receive instruction that spans the entire set of standards or AP content and the same delivery method and model.

  What is the LEA requirement to implement a Dual Credit Program with a local postsecondary institution?
All LEAs must complete a Dual Credit Master Agreement with at least one local NM public/tribal postsecondary institution. The LEA must submit the Master Agreement to the NMPED according to the directions found at: http://www.ped.state.nm.us/DualCredit/index.html. Dual credit courses must be listed in the approved MOU between the public school and the college/university before students can take the college course.

  What is the difference between concurrent enrollment and dual credit?
If a high school student is taking a course for credit at an institution of higher education but not receiving high school graduation credit at the primary enrollment high school location, the student is considered to be enrolled concurrently. If, however, the same student is taking a class for credit at an institution of higher education which also counts for credit toward high school graduation, the student is considered to be dually enrolled. Students who are enrolled in a dual credit course do so at public expense.

  How do LEAs ensure graduation requirements are met that include identifying one of the graduation units as being Honors, AP, dual credit, or distance learning?
Within the STARS database, courses are identified at a local level as meeting graduation requirements.

  What is distance learning and a distance learning course?
Distance learning refers to the technology and educational process used to provide credit or grade- bearing courses in which the course provider and the distance-learning student are not necessarily physically present at the same time or place. Distance learning does not include educational software that utilizes only on-site teaching. A distance learning course is one in which the student and primary instructor are separated by time or space and linked by technology.
Computer-assisted Instruction without an online teacher is not considered a distance learning course. Thus, distance learning does not include educational software that utilizes only on-site teaching and self-paced learning.
Online courses that utilize highly-qualified teachers at-a-distance, such as those offered by IDEAL-NM, do meet the criteria for distance learning courses.

  Does "2 years of a Language other than English" mean two units of the same Language other than English?
Yes. High school graduation requirements only require one year of a language other than English. However, many colleges require two consecutive years of the same language as part of their admission requirements.

  Does American Sign Language qualify as a "Language other than English"?
Yes.

  Can courses that include some type of physical activity automatically count for PE credit (ROTC, Athletics, Weight Training, etc?)
Students must take one unit in physical education (STARS code 2305), as determined by each school district, which may include a physical education program that meets state content and performance standards or participation in marching band, junior reserve officers' training corps or interscholastic sports sanctioned by the New Mexico activities association. Any variation from the above parameters would require the submission of a PE Waiver.

Definitions:
Unit: High school measurement of credit. The assigning of credit is outlined by individual district policies.
Credit Hour: Undergraduate college measurement of credit. Three college credit hours are equivalent to one high school unit as defined by the Dual Credit rule (6.30.7 NMAC).

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