June 9, 2008
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:
Thank you for submitting additional assessment materials for peer review. I am pleased to approve New Mexico's assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). I congratulate you on meeting this important NCLB requirement.
My decision 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. I have concluded that the evidence demonstrates that New Mexico's standards and assessment system satisfies the NCLB requirements. Specifically, New Mexico's assessment system includes academic content standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; student achievement standards and assessments in each of grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school in reading/language arts and mathematics; as well as alternate achievement standards and alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in five grade bands: 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12 in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. Accordingly, New Mexico's system warrants Full Approval with Recommendations. This status means that New Mexico's standards and assessment system meets all statutory and regulatory requirements for reading/language arts and mathematics, but that the assessment system could be strengthened in some ways. I recommend that New Mexico continue to improve the alignment of its alternate assessments with New Mexico's grade-span extended standards for mathematics, reading/language arts, and science.
Please be aware that approval of New Mexico's assessment system under NCLB 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 in its assessment system, the state 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 on your state's approved standards and assessment system under NCLB. I wish you well in your continued efforts to improve student achievement in New Mexico.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Bill Richardson