NM HS Graduation Assessment

New Mexico High School Graduation Assessment - What You Need to Know

Raising the Bar logoIn today's global economy, high school students must be prepared to compete with the world's best for jobs and college admission. The standard is college and career-readiness -- the ability for students upon graduation to be successful in college coursework, in the workforce, or in the military.

High school students in New Mexico are now required to demonstrate they meet this high standard by passing the state's high school exit examinations in order to earn a diploma. The assessments and options for each subject area are different, so you may want to read up on all of them. In a state where the previous standard was mastery of eighth-grade basic skills, this is a big change that could affect every Rio Rancho student.

A New Standard for Graduation

New Mexico law requires that in addition to earning the course credits required for graduation, seniors must pass standards-based assessments in reading, math, science, social studies, and writing in order to earn a diploma. Standards-based assessments -- also sometimes known as achievement tests -- measure whether students have learned the material contained in the state "standards" which define what students should know, understand, and be able to do in each subject at each grade level. This is sometimes referred to as "competency."

Members of the Class of 2014 and beyond demonstrate competency by passing the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment (NMSBA, also known for graduation purposes as the New Mexico High School Graduation Exam, or HSGA). In those subject areas not covered by the NMSBA, students demonstrate competency by passing state-approved End of Course assessments (EOC's) or state-approved national exams. The options available vary by subject area.

View and download our new brochure describing the options here!

Students must achieve a score that demonstrates they are ready to enter college or embark on a civilian or military career without the need for remedial courses. The bar has been raised very high, and students who fall short no longer qualify for a high school diploma.


Who Must Take the Tests? Second and third year high school students (usually sophomores and juniors, but some students in other classifications can be second or third year) take the NMSBA/HSGA in reading, math, and (in some years) science. Students who do not pass the reading and math sections of the NMSBA/HSGA may retake the portion(s) of the test they did not pass in the fall of their fourth (usually senior) year. Retake opportunities for the science portion of the NMSBA/HSGA are still being determined by the state.

In social studies and writing, students must pass an appropriate End-Of-Course assessment (EOC). A passing score on certain EOC's may also be used as a demonstration of competency for students not passing the NMSBA/ HSGA in reading, math, and science. Students not passing the NMSBA or an appropriate EOC may also qualify for graduation by achieving designated minimum scores on certain nationally-recognized tests.


Subject Area Requirements for Demonstrating Competency
What If a Student Doesn't Pass? Students not passing all sections of the NMSBA/HSGA in reading and math will have an opportunity in the fall of their senior year to re-take those sections they did not pass. Retake opportunities (if any) for the science portion of the tests are still being determined.

Students who do not pass all sections of the test or qualify for graduation through Alternative Demonstration of Competency prior to the end of their senior year receive a "Certificate of Completion" rather than a high school diploma, which could affect their ability to qualify for college admissions as well as careers and military placements requiring a diploma.

After they leave high school, students have up to five years to continue to retake the exam; upon passing the test, they then receive a diploma.
How Can I Get Help? Parents are encouraged to stay in close touch with their child's teachers if they are concerned their child may have difficulty passing a class and/or the graduation assessment. School counselors can help connect parents and students with resources to provide academic support.
For Further Information: If you have questions about the new examination, you may contact the RRPS Department of Assessment and Data Analysis at 896-0667 ext. 147, through the district's comments portal, or via district@rrps.net.

Additional Resources

NEW for 2013-14!
Brochure on revised graduation requirements - includes handy-dandy chart!

View a separate chart further detailing passing scores and alternative ways students may demonstrate competency.


NM Public Education Department (PED) information on the New Mexico HS Graduation Assessment and Alternative Demonstrations of Competency:

Click here for information about the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment (SBA) from the NM Public Education Department. The 11th grade SBA doubles as the High School Graduation Assessment.


Click here to comment to the NM Public Education Department about the new graduation requirements.


Letter to parents on the 2012-13 (old) graduation requirements: