New Mexico Eliminates Testing Requirement To Graduate After Students Fall Behind During COVID

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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Some New Mexico high school students will not be required to pass standardized tests normally required for graduation, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The announcement was made last week by the state’s Public Education Department (PED), which revealed to the Albuquerque Journal that while students will still be required to take the tests, the scores will not be considered for graduation. The new standard applies to the class of 2024, who were freshmen at the beginning of the pandemic.

The decision came from advice handed down by the U.S. Department of Education “to reduce the high stakes of assessments,” according to a memo by New Mexico Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus.

Class of 2024 graduates were reportedly chosen to adopt the change because of its need for “continued instructional support to catch up on (unfinished) learning,” Assessment and Learning Management System Director Lynn Vasquez told the Albuquerque Journal.

Steinhaus said in his memo that the “decision was not made lightly.” (RELATED: University of California Drops SAT and ACT Requirements, Claims Tests Are Discriminatory)

“Given the impact of the pandemic, this decision will afford our schools time to focus on quality instruction and more meaningful balanced assessment practices – both of which are necessary for acceleration,” he wrote.

But while standardized testing is now a non-consideration, students in the class of 2024 will still be held accountable to meet course standards in subjects like math, science, social studies, reading and writing.

The PED advocated for a standardized testing waiver for the 2021 semester, claiming that the tests could be difficult to administer while students were still engaged in virtual learning during the pandemic.

The New Mexico House Republican Caucus mocked the request.

The Public Education Department, Vasquez, the New Mexico House Republican Caucus and the Department of Education did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Steinhaus could not be reached.

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