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2/7/08 HB 503
SHORT TITLE College & Workplace Readiness Assessments
APPROPRIATION (dollars in thousands)
or Non-Rec
(Parenthesis ( ) Indicate Expenditure Decreases)
* There is $4,000.0 in the General Appropriation Act as a special non-recurring appropriation.
Also, funding for the requirements in this bill is in the State Equalization Guarantees.
FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 3 Year
Total Cost
Or Non-Rec
Costs (PED) $2,764.9 $2,564.9 $2,564.9 $7,894.7 Recurring
Costs (Districts) $300.0 $300.0 $300.0
$ 900.0 Recurring
Costs (PED) $900.0
$ 900.0 Non-Recurring
(Parenthesis ( ) Indicate Expenditure Decreases)
Duplicates SB 460
LFC Files
Responses Received From
Department of Finance & Administration (DFA)
Higher Education Department (HED)
Public Education Department (PED)
House Bill 503– Page
Synopsis of Bill
House Bill 503
amends section 22-2C-4.1 NMSA 1978. It changes high school and college
readiness assessments in grades 9 and 10 to short cycle assessments in reading, language arts and
math, and will allow students to choose a college readiness assessment, a work-place readiness
assessment or an alternative demonstration of competency using standards-based indicators in
the fall of grade 11.
HB 503 allows financial literacy to be offered as an elective to high school students. Finally, the
bill allows the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment to be used as the high school
graduation exam.
The bill eliminates the deadline for the establishment of rule for the NM Diploma of Excellence
and high school competency exam.
PED estimates of costs to implement the program are shown in the table above. PED also
submits the bill should have an emergency appropriation of nearly $3,000,000 in order to have
the diagnostic assessments in grades 9 and 10 ready by fall of 2008.
DFA provided the following:
The 2007 Legislature passed and Governor Bill Richardson signed SB 56, High School
Redesign. The purpose of this legislation was to increase the rigor of high school
graduation requirements and coursework, as well increase the support given to high
school students and teachers in ensuring that New Mexico’s high school graduates are
prepared for college and the world of work.
One of the primary components of the High School Redesign legislation was the creation
of a high school readiness assessment in grade 9, a college readiness assessment in grade
10 and a workplace readiness assessment in grade 11. This legislation was designed to
ensure that students and teachers will have timely, accurate information about student’s
ability to meet high school standards and be ready for college level coursework and the
workplace. HB 503 proposes to change the high school and college readiness
assessments to short cycle diagnostic assessments in reading, language arts and
mathematics, which will be given a minimum of three times per year.
Short cycle diagnostic assessments are a type of assessment known as “formative"
assessment—which is designed to mark student progress throughout the school year in
meeting educational standards. It is designed to be diagnostic—and to highlight areas for
improvement during the course of the school year. This is different from the New
Mexico Standards Based Assessment, which is a “summative" assessment, which is
designed to measure student achievement at the end of a school year.
House Bill 503– Page
One of the advantages of using the short cycle assessments proposed in HB 503 is that
they will be administered three times per year, which will allow teachers more
opportunities to “correct the course" for individual students who are not making progress
toward mastery of the standards.
However, one serious concern is that the language of HB 503 does not provide that these
short cycle assessments are aligned to the New Mexico education standards, nor does it
require that these assessments be designed to measure student progress towards these
standards. It is critical that any assessments used be aligned to New Mexico’s standards
in order to determine if students are making progress towards mastery of those standards.
Another concern is that HB 503 allows for the use of different short cycle assessments by
districts. Proposed language in Section E of 22.2C.4.1 NMSA 1978 will allow the PED
to approve already developed commercial short cycle assessments, or approve short cycle
assessments already in use in school districts and charter schools. Allowing multiple
short cycle assessments to be used will limit the PED and the legislature’s ability to
monitor whether or not students are making progress towards meeting standards, beyond
what is currently in place with the NMSBA. Also, ensuring that assessments meet the
technical quality and rigor required to measure student progress towards meeting
standards is a time and resource consuming process, one that requires significant levels of
assessment expertise. Use of a uniform statewide short cycle assessment will negate this
In grade 11, HB 503 allows students to choose whether or not they will take a college or
workplace readiness assessment, or some alternate method of demonstrating competency
of the standards. This provision recognizes that not all of New Mexico’s students are
This bill also requires that financial literacy shall be offered as an elective in high
schools. During the 2007 regular session, HB 1205 proposed to add financial literacy as
an elective in high school. HB 1205 passed and was signed. HB 503 proposes to carry
over this requirement into the new high school graduation requirements under the New
Mexico Diploma of Excellence that will take effect for grade nine students entering high
school in the 2009-10 school year.
HB 503 allows for the grade 11 Standards-Based Assessment to be used as the high
school graduation examination, rather than implementing an additional assessment. This
will eliminate the need for the PED to develop a new high school competency
assessment. However, PED will need to be vigilant in ensuring that the grade 11
assessment has sufficient technical quality to meet the needs of both uses.
Another issue of serious concern is the 11th grade assessment passing rates. In 2007,
53.3% of grade 11 students did not meet proficiency in reading, and 68.2% did not meet
proficiency in math. If the grade 11 assessment were used as a high school competency
exam today, nearly 70% of students will not pass. These students will need to be allowed
to take the exam in grade 12, which will result in additional cost. About 20,000 students
take the grade 11 assessment, at an estimated cost of $30 dollars per administration. If
13,640 (68.2%) students need to re-take the exam in grade 12 because they were unable
to meet standards in grade 11, the additional cost will be approximately $409 thousand
per year.
House Bill 503– Page
HB 503 allows students who do not pass the grade 11 NMSBA to choose to complete a
portfolio process as a demonstration of competency, which will include examples of
student work, and demonstration of competency down to the benchmark level, and may
include the results of the SAT, ACT or Work Keys assessments. It is unclear how many
students will select the alternate portfolio option.
Finally, HB 503 removes the deadline for the PED to create the rule regarding the New
Mexico high school diploma of excellence and high school competency assessment. The
PED reports that the rule is currently in draft form but may need to be redrafted after the
close of the 2008 Legislative Session, if legislation changes.
At current passing rates, about 68% of New Mexico 11th graders may need to re-take the
grade 11 exam in grade 12 in order to receive a diploma. The assessment costs about $30
dollars per student to administer. Approximately 20,000 students take the exam in grade
11 each year, of which 68% is 13,640 students. Total estimated cost for students to re-
take the exam is approximately $409 thousand in recurring cost beginning in FY 11.
PED provided the following:
• The short-cycle diagnostic assessments administered locally in grades 9 and 10 will
require review for technical quality and alignment to New Mexico Content Standards and
• PED staff will be engaged in monitoring local school districts for compliance with the
• The standards-based assessment required in Section 22-2C-4 NMSA 1978 will need to
undergo a performance standard-setting procedure in order to be used for high school
• PED will need to develop a short-cycle diagnostic assessment for the 29 school districts
that have not implemented a local short-cycle assessment.
• All state mandated tests must meet federal standards for accessibility for English
language learners and students with disabilities including special education.
• Results from these assessments must be portable, preferably by electronic means, as
students transfer between districts, charter schools and districts and schools within
HED states they will cooperate with PED to fulfill the requirements of the alignment statute
enacted in 2003, which requires high school curricula and end-of-course tests be aligned with the
placement tests administered by the publicly funded higher education institutions in New
Mexico. The High School Redesign legislation enacted in 2007 increased the rigor of the high
school curriculum, while HB 503 provisions for the fall eleventh grade assessment increase and
facilitate the alignment of high school end-of-course tests with postsecondary placement exams.
HED will continue to work closely with the publicly funded higher education institutions in New
Mexico on the alignment process, which includes conducting a crosswalk of all college
House Bill 503– Page
placement exams to ensure high school graduates are appropriately placed into entry-level
English and math courses.
Moreover, PED and NMHED shall collaborate as needed with the publicly funded higher
education institutions in New Mexico to determine which elements constitute college readiness
for the tenth grade short cycle assessments in English, language arts, and mathematics.
PED indicates the legislation can be implemented within existing resources.
HB 503 duplicates SB 460
DFA offered the following:
Amend Section A, Subsection 1 to read: …in grade nine, a short-cycle diagnostic
assessment in reading, language arts, and mathematics that is aligned to the New Mexico
educational standards to be locally administered in the fall and at least 2 additional times
during the year.
Amend Section A, Subsection 2 to read: …In grade ten, a short cycle diagnostic
assessment in reading, language arts and mathematics that is aligned to the New Mexico
educational standards to be locally administered at least three times during the year;