Request to Amend Accountability Plan – New Mexico – NCLB Policy Letters to States

August 4, 2010

The Honorable Veronica C. Garcia
Secretary of Education
State of New Mexico
Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501-2786

Dear Secretary Garcia:

I am writing in response to New Mexico’s request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Following discussions between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and your staff, you made certain changes to New Mexico’s accountability plan, which are now included in the amended plan that New Mexico submitted to the Department on July 19, 2010. I am pleased to approve New Mexico’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of New Mexico’s requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend New Mexico’s accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.

Please also be aware that approval of New Mexico’s accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, does not indicate that the plan 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.

I am confident that New Mexico will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact ( or ( of my staff.


Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Ph.D.


cc: Governor Bill Richardson
Tom Dauphinee

Amendments to New Mexico’s Accountability Plan

The following is a summary of the State’s amendment requests. Please refer to the Department’s website (www.ed.gov for New Mexico’s complete accountability plan.

Acceptable amendments

The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations:

Inclusion of all schools (Element 1.1, 1.2)

Revision: New Mexico proposes that the adequate yearly progress (AYP) determination for a school with only 9th and 10th grades be determined by using the assessment results of the grade 11 students who previously attended the school. Schools that enroll only 9th or 10th grade students will be evaluated on the test performance of their exited students in 11th grade.

Further, New Mexico proposes that the AYP determination for a school without any full academic year (FAY) students and whose exited students cannot be found in the tested population, such as a small school with a highly mobile student population, be determined by assigning the school the school district’s AYP determination.

Inclusion of all schools (Element 1.1)

Revision: New Mexico proposes to define a State Charter School as a conversion school or start-up school independent of any district, authorized by the State as a charter school.

District identification for improvement (Element 3.1)

Revision: New Mexico proposes that a district shall be identified as in need of improvement when it does not make AYP in the same content area or same academic indicator in any grade span for two consecutive years. District improvement status progresses each year AYP is not met, from District Improvement I, to District Improvement II, to Corrective Action I, and, finally, to Corrective Action II. A district must successfully make AYP in the subject area or academic indicator that caused it to enter improvement status for two consecutive years to return to Progressing (i.e., to exit improvement status).

Determining AYP for each student subgroup, public school, and LEA (Element 3.2)

Revision: New Mexico proposes that for a school to be able to determine whether it makes AYP through safe harbor, the school must be in existence for at least two years, and each subgroup for which safe harbor is being determined must have met the minimum group size for proficiency in the prior year and the current year.

Uniform averaging of data to make AYP determinations (Element 5.5)

Revision: New Mexico proposes to make AYP determinations for small schools and districts (those with fewer students than the minimum n required for proficiency determinations) by “accumulating” student scores over one or two years, until the minimum group size is met.

Minimum group size for reporting and accountability purposes (Element 5.5)

Revision: New Mexico proposes for determining AYP for schools and districts to use a minimum n-size of 25 students in a subgroup, 10 for reporting purposes, and 40 for determining participation rates.

Decision Letters on State Accountability Plans