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Education Secretary-Designate Ryan Stewart Announces SAT As New Mexico’s Official High School Assessment

on October 20, 2019 - 3:19pm
NMPED Secretary-Designate Ryan Stewart
SANTA FE New Mexico Public Education Secretary-Designate Ryan Stewart announced Friday that the SAT has been adopted as the official New Mexico high school assessment.
New Mexico stakeholders and the New Mexico Public Education Department’s assessment taskforce readily identified the need to provide an assessment that had meaning beyond high school; the SAT fulfills that need. In spring 2020, all New Mexico high school juniors will have the opportunity to participate in the SAT.
The SAT is closely aligned with New Mexico academic standards and is accepted at all colleges and universities in New Mexico and across the U.S. The SAT measures the areas that research shows are essential for college and career readiness, including a student’s ability to understand words in context, analyze evidence and utilize geometric and trigonometric skills used in a wide range of majors and careers.
“This is an exciting moment for New Mexico,” Secretary-Designate Stewart said. “In administering the SAT, we are paying for students’ college entrance exams for the first time ever, effectively removing one major barrier to college entrance for thousands of New Mexico students. Transitioning to the SAT is also central to our department’s goal to utilize meaningful assessments that accurately gauge student achievement.”
Many students in New Mexico are already familiar with the SAT Suite of Assessments. Last year, more than 19,000 New Mexico sophomores and approximately 5,000 juniors participated in the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The PSAT/NMSQT, which New Mexico sophomores have taken since 2015, works together with the SAT to provide information about a student’s college readiness over time.
In addition to the PSAT/NMSQT being great practice for the SAT, students can connect their PSAT/NMSQT test results to Khan Academy to receive a free, personalized SAT study plan. Data shows that studying 20 hours for the SAT with the Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points. Research confirms that practice on Khan Academy advanced students regardless of gender, race, income or high school GPA.
The SAT is administered by the non-profit organization College Board. Through College Board, New Mexico districts and state charters will be able to utilize the SAT School Day program, which provides districts and state charters the opportunity to test all of their students in their home school during a regular school day—at no cost to students. This means that students won’t have to juggle weekend responsibilities or find transportation, and will test in a familiar setting with people they know.
“The College Board is excited to work with New Mexico educators to help clear a path for students across the state through the SAT School Day program,” said Vice President David Gupta of College Board’s Southwestern Regional Office. “We’ll work with our partners to make sure that New Mexico students, parents and educators take advantage of all of the opportunities that are connected with the SAT, including free, personalized test practice, scholarships and college application fee waivers.”
SAT School Day participation has expanded significantly in recent years. A growing body of research, including a study on universal testing in Michigan and a similar study in Virginia, shows that when students have greater access to college entrance exams like the SAT, more of them go to college.
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math once a year, as well as once in high school. States must also test students in science once in grade school, middle school and high school. Previously, New Mexico high school students were administered the Transition Assessment in Math and English Language Arts (TAMELA) or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test.