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New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393


March 10, 2003

SDE Requests Proposals from Contractors on New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment

(Santa Fe, NM)—The New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) announced today that it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking proposals from prospective contractors to develop and implement statewide criterion-referenced assessments (CRTs) for grades 3-8 in reading, language arts and mathematics and, as funds permit, in social studies and science in grades 3-8 and in all subjects in grade 9. The assessments must be developed in English and Spanish, have an embedded norm-referenced section and address four student proficiency levels (beginning, nearing proficiency, proficient and advanced).

“Our goal is to build a valid and reliable assessment system that measures student academic performance in relation to New Mexico’s content standards with benchmarks and provides data from which to make valid and reliable decisions for the state’s accountability program,” said Dr. Melville L. Morgan, assistant superintendent in the SDE’s Accountability and Information Services Division.

The standards-based assessment must take into consideration the cultural and linguistic diversity of the state’s student population. Proposals must also address the provision or development of materials in Braille or large print and testing accommodations for English Language Learner (ELL) and special needs students.

The test format will be traditional paper/pencil tests, with the contractor providing for comprehensive administration for all schools and all students. In addition, proposals are encouraged to address plans for on-line assessment formats.

The first administration of the new CRTs will take place in 2004-2005. Proposals must include plans for a development start date of no earlier than the fall of 2003, with an ending date of no later than the fall of 2004. The SDE is seeking proposals for a multi-year contract of at least four years. Potential contractors must respond by no later than 2:00 p.m. MDT on April 18, 2003.

As a result of passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, New Mexico has received $4.4 million to assist in the development of CRTs, which is a requirement of the act. “We are in the process of transitioning from a norm-referenced to a criterion-referenced assessment system,” said Dr. Morgan.

To view the RFP, please visit the SDE’s web page at