New Mexico’s accountability system produces a single, clear summative rating overall and for each indicator.
Such a clear rating can help educators, parents, and the public understand school performance in context. These A-F grades are tied to a school’s identification for comprehensive support and improvement. The state also drops a school’s grade by a letter if 95 percent of students do not take the state assessments.
New Mexico has had this system in place for five years, and it plans to continue it through the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.
However, the state also presents a plan to add new measures over time, including a new science indicator and the inclusion of college enrollment and remediation rates. In addition, partially in response to stakeholder feedback, it will boost the weighting given to student proficiency rates. While the new system is mostly developed already, the state could provide greater clarity around how it will weight some of its sub-indicators, which appear to combine absenteeism and survey results into one “opportunity to learn” indicator and to combine participation and success in its college- and career-readiness indicator.
While the state should be applauded for defining “consistently underperforming” subgroups in terms of math and English language arts performance, the state’s plan to identify schools with these subgroups still lacks context around how many schools the rules would actually identify in need of support (see above). In addition, the state should consider including graduation rates as a part of the definition of a “consistently underperforming” subgroup and a “low-performing subgroup.”
New Mexico will identify additional schools as in need of targeted support and improvement if “the vast majority” of any subgroup of students performs “well below” on academic proficiency and if it’s not demonstrating “sufficient growth” compared with the bottom 5 percent of schools. However, the state does not explicitly define these terms.