PRESS RELEASE - September 30, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SBE to Consider Continued Inclusion of Grades 4 and 8 Norm-Referenced Testing in Accountability Program

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) will consider whether to continue to include fourth and eighth grade student assessment results from the norm-referenced TerraNova in the state's accountability program at its regular meeting on Thursday, October 9, beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE), Mabry Hall, located at 300 Don Gaspar in Santa Fe. The SBE voted in November 2002 to continue the administration of the TerraNova in grades 4 and 8, even though criterion-referenced testing (CRTs) began in those grades in 2003.

“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 consider reducing our norm-referenced testing program and costs. This step 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.

Under the proposed change, schools could elect to give the TerraNova but the data would not be used in school ratings.

The SBE will also consider adoption of instructional materials for language arts, a rule change that provides for local school board member training as required in HB 212, Public School Reform, adopted into law this year, and the SBE’s organization as a result of voter approval of Amendment 1 in September making the SDE a cabinet agency and creating a Public Education Commission.

The SBE’s six standing committees will hold meetings on Thursday in Mabry Hall, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Committees refer items to the SBE for action. Discussions will include the following:

· Consideration of a regulation change for public input that provides for licensure of school business officials at 8:45 a.m. by the Educator Quality Committee
· Consideration of removing grades 4 and 8 from norm-referenced testing and a rule change providing for local school board member training at 10:00 a.m. by the Accountability Committee
· Consideration of instructional materials for language arts and a written report evaluating charter schools in New Mexico at 11:15 a.m. by the Instructional Services Committee
· An entrance conference with the SDE’s new audit firm, Neff + Ricci of Albuquerque, and written reports on school district and school financial issues in the Cuba and Vaughn school districts and the SDE’s audit at 12:30 p.m. by the Finance, Transportation and Administration Committee.