July 9, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Charmaine Jackson-John
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393

PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPT. INVESTIGATES SUSPECTED CRT TESTING IRREGULARITIES

Santa Fe--The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) is investigating alleged testing irregularities at Fort Sumner Municipal Schools in grades 4 and 8, and Moreno Valley Charter School's 11th grade in Angel Fire, N.M. The district did not order New Mexico standards-based or criterion-referenced assessments (CRTs) for their students. The charter school ordered the CRTs but failed to administer them.

“Fort Sumner Municipal Schools and Moreno Valley Charter School appeared to have disregarded various state and federal mandates for the test and have consequently jeopardized their ratings,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García. “Because the children in Fort Sumner Municipal Schools and Moreno Valley Charter School were not administered the state tests, results of the tests do not exist for these schools. This means that the affected children have been deprived of the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in reading and mathematics. The results would have been used to determine if they met adequate yearly progress under state and federal law. This is a serious disservice to these New Mexico school children and is aggravated by the fact that the testing failures were never reported to the Department.”

Consequences for identified staff deviating from standardized testing procedures include possible suspension or revocation of an educator’s or administrator’s licensure.

Education Secretary García concluded, “It is ultimately the district superintendent’s or charter school governing authority’s responsibility to oversee the implementation of the CRTs for their students. Every district and charter school in New Mexico should be aware of PED’s testing irregularities regulation. Additionally, the Department requires annual attendance at PED-sponsored training offered to all district and charter school testing coordinators on administration of high-stakes testing.”

Schools impacted within the Fort Sumner Municipal Schools include Fort Sumner Elementary School and Fort Sumner Middle School.