PRESS RELEASE - May 16, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

U.S. Department of Education Approves Accountability Plan

(Santa Fe, NM)—The U.S. Department of Education today announced that it has approved the New Mexico Accountability Plan to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and requirements for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

“The plan continues the transition processes already underway regarding the requirements of the NCLB Act, allowing us to continue rating schools and providing the necessary support for school improvement and corrective action schools,” said Dr. Mel Morgan, assistant superintendent for Accountability and Information Services. “With today’s announcement, we now meet the federal expectations that both whole groups and subgroups will be used to establish school ratings.”

Under the plan, New Mexico will transition from a norm-referenced assessment system to a criterion-referenced assessment system over the next few years. The plan also details the methodology for rating schools until 2013-2014.

For 2003-2004, the SDE plans to announce school ratings by August 1 and will disaggregate student achievement data per the following: Caucasian/Whites not of Hispanic origin, Blacks not of Hispanic origin, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indian/Alaskan natives, English Language Learners (ELL) and free and reduced-price lunch. Norm-referenced assessments (NRTs) will continue in grades three, five, six, seven and nine, with criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) administered in grades four, eight and 11. A key change is that if a school lacks 95 percent participation, it will not be able to rate above “meets standards.”

For 2004-2005, NRTs will continue to be administered in grades three, five, six, seven and nine, with CRTs administered in grades four, eight and 11. But for the first time, AYP will be applied to grades four, eight and 11, with the state’s old Accountability Program applied to the NRT test grades. And student achievement data will be disaggregated for both CRT and NRT test grades. A critical change in 2004 will be that one probationary data point will result in a probationary rating for a school.

By 2005-2006, New Mexico will be fully implementing the NCLB requirements, with CRTs administered in grades three through nine and in grade 11.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis said, “The plan is the culmination of the tremendous work since 1998 by various groups including the New Mexico State Board of Education, school administrators, state accountability council, legislators, parents and educators.”