PRESS RELEASE - May 28, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SDE Posts Draft Science Standards on Web for Comment

(Santa Fe, NM)— The New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) today posted a draft version of the revised K-12 Science Content Standards, Benchmarks and Performance Standards on its web site and announced that it will accept public comment on the proposed standards from Tuesday, May 27, through Thursday, July 3, 2003. The standards are available on the SDE’s Curriculum, Instruction and Learning Technologies (CILT) Unit web site at www.ped.state.nm.us/cilt.

“The standards are intended to articulate what students should know and be able to do at each grade level, K-12. They are not curriculum but expectations for learning,” said Sharon Dogruel, the SDE’s CILT program manager. “Public feedback is important to ensure that the revised science standards are of the highest quality.”

The web posting includes an online public comment form. Questions regarding the draft standards can be addressed to Dogruel at sdogruel@ped.state.nm.us.

At the request of the New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE), writing teams of K-12 educators and higher education faculty began developing the revised draft standards in 2002. They address three specific learning strands: scientific thinking and inquiry, content of science and science and society.

The SDE held a community review on April 16, 2003, to solicit input on whether essential content and skills were articulated throughout the standards.

The SBE will consider the final draft of the science standards at its August 2003 regular meeting in Santa Fe. Once approved, the standards will remain in place for six years. School district curriculum must be aligned with the standards within two years after adoption.

“Science is one of the four core academic areas essential for student achievement and success. In addition to the standards, there is much on the horizon in the area of science,” Dogruel said. The SBE will adopt new science textbooks in 2005. As a result, new science materials will be in classrooms in 2006. By the 2005-2006 school year, three units of science will be required for high school graduation, per HB 212, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Bill Richardson this year. And by 2006, the state will have developed a criterion-referenced test for science