June 4, 2001
Honorable Michael J. Davis
Superintendent of Public Instruction
New Mexico Department of Education
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501-2786
Dear Superintendent Davis:
It was a pleasure speaking with you about the outcome of the Department's review of New Mexico's final assessment system under the requirements of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We appreciate the effort New Mexico made to prepare for the review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support your State's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.
As we discussed, our peer review of New Mexico's system determined that the State meets some but not all of the Title I requirements. Most significantly, New Mexico conducts assessments in at least mathematics and English/language arts in the three grade spans specified in the statute. New Mexico also generally meets the Title I requirements for inclusion of all students in State assessment systems.
Several additional actions, however, need to be completed before the Department can give New Mexico full approval of its assessment system. I am, therefore, offering you the opportunity to apply for a timeline waiver in order to give you additional time to complete work on your system. In order to obtain full approval, New Mexico must:
- Submit documentation that it has secured sufficient authority and funding for the development and administration of a high school exam that is fully aligned with State content and performance standards and meets Title I requirements for alignment and technical quality.
- Complete alignment studies of the State's assessments for grades 3-9 for language arts and mathematics (the CTBS/5 Terra Nova Survey Plus).
- If your alignment studies identify any gaps and weaknesses, submit evidence to the Department that you have addressed and corrected them, and that all your assessments are aligned with State standards.
Page 2 - Honorable Michael J. Davis
- Submit additional evidence of the alignment of your Spanish language achievement assessments (Supera/Aprenda) with State standards, and, if any gaps and weaknesses are identified, submit evidence to the Department that they have been addressed and corrected.
- Undergo the Departmental peer review process for performance standards, and meet Title I requirements for those standards.
- Provide complete participation data for students with disabilities (SWD) and limited English proficient (LEP) students. Submit accurate participation data that include:
- evidence of reporting by all categories required by Title I.
- evidence of inclusion of all students, including SWD and LEP students, in the accountability system.
If it is not possible to secure the commitment to develop and administer an aligned exam for the 10-12 grade span, or if New Mexico is unable to submit a sufficient timeline for meeting Title I requirements, we will have to consider the other courses of action available to the Department. These include requiring New Mexico to enter into a compliance agreement in order to remain eligible to receive Title I funds or initiating proceedings to withhold Title I funds from New Mexico.
Within 45 days, please submit a request for a timeline waiver, along with a timeline and detailed action plan describing how New Mexico will meet the Title I assessment requirements. We look forward to working with New Mexico to support high quality in the assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call me.
Thomas M. Corwin
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary