PRESS RELEASE - October 9, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SBE Removes Norm-Referenced Testing from Grades 4 And 8, Adopts Instructional Materials for Language Arts

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) voted today to remove the norm-referenced TerraNova assessment in grades 4 and 8 from the state's accountability program. Schools can elect to give the TerraNova but the data will not be used in school ratings.

“With the adoption by the U.S. Department of Education of our plan to fully implement CRTs – standards-based tests -- by 2005, it is time to reduce our norm-referenced testing program. The board’s action today will result in reduced student testing in grades 4 and 8, prevent duplicate data and alleviate testing costs in local districts,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

The SBE also approved adoption of instructional materials for language arts and a rule change that provides for local school board member training as required in HB 212, Public School Reform, adopted into law this year.

The SBE heard a report from staff at the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) concerning public school governance once the September 23 vote to create the department as a cabinet-level agency is certified on October 14. The following changes will occur:

· All references to the SBE or state superintendent of public instruction will be changed to the secretary of public education.

· The SBE and its rules of procedures will cease to exist and a Public Education Commission will be created. The commission will serve in an advisory capacity to the new secretary of public education.

· SBE regulations will remain in effect.

· All commissions and panels that reported to the SBE will continue to function and will report to the new secretary of public education.

The Public Education Commission, consisting of the 10 elected members of the SBE, will convene its first meeting on October 16 with Cabinet Secretary-Interim Dr. Alan Morgan. The meeting will be held from 8:00 a.m. to noon at the Disability Determination Services Unit, Large Conference Room, in the Candelaria Business Center in Albuquerque.