School superintendents across New Mexico are working to make sure that students who are in jeopardy of not graduating this year due to changes in requirements will be able to don a much deserved cap and gown come spring.
What’s changed? Students must pass every single segment of the state Standards Based Assessments Test, something they’ve not had to do before. That means 20 percent of the class of 2014 might not graduate.
So individual school districts, with the approval of the state Public Education Department, are adopting alternative paths for seniors to earn their diplomas.
Kirk Carpenter is Superintendent of the Aztec Municipal School District. He said it used to be that seniors didn’t have to take a standards based assessment test at all. The simply had to complete a certain number of credits and pass their classes.
“Districts aren’t looking to try and circumvent and just get kids across the stage,” Carpenter said. “But at the same time, they are trying to be fair because we’ve seen a lot of changes in the last few years.”
State law allows individual school districts to develop their own alternative assessments which include talking to teachers, making sure students have passed their final exams and looking at attendance.
Districts are expected to implement the alternative assessments statewide this year.