New Mexico Assessment Letter
December 23, 2009
The Honorable Veronica C. Garcia
Secretary of Education
State of New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Dear Secretary Garcia:
I am pleased to approve New Mexico’s general science assessments under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended. Combined with New Mexico’s previously approved standards and assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics, New Mexico has a fully approved standards and assessment system under Title I of the ESEA. I congratulate you on this significant accomplishment.
In a letter to you on June 9, 2008, we approved your standards and assessment system. However, since that time, you implemented science assessments, evidence of which you were obligated to submit for peer review. My decision regarding New Mexico’s general science assessment in grades 3-8 in English and Spanish and grade 11 in English is based on input from peer reviewers external to the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and Department staff who reviewed and carefully considered the evidence submitted by New Mexico in October 2008, June 2009 and September 2009. I have concluded that the evidence provided demonstrates that New Mexico’s general science assessments in grades 3-8 in English and Spanish and grade 11 in English satisfy the statutory and regulatory requirements under section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. As a result, New Mexico’s standards and assessment system now includes academic content standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; student academic achievement standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; general assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school and general science assessments for grades 3-8 and 11 and alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards in the corresponding grades in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. Accordingly, New Mexico’s standards and assessment system warrants Full Approval. I have enclosed detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated New Mexico’s most recent submissions for your information.
Please be aware that approval of New Mexico’s standards and assessment system under the ESEA is not a determination that the system complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Finally, please remember that, if New Mexico makes significant changes to its standards and assessment system, New Mexico must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval.
We have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Please accept my congratulations for New Mexico’s approved standards and assessment system in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Grace Ross at (Grace.Ross@ed.gov)
Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Ph.D
cc: Governor Bill Richardson