Dramatically Higher Grad Rate May Have Been Influenced By Skipped Test

Just days after Governor Susana Martinez announced big gains in New Mexico’s high school graduation rate, reports suggest an exit exam may be behind the change.

State officials say graduation rates improved from 63 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2012.  But students who graduated in 2012 were not required to pass the High School Competency Exam, the Albuquerque Journal reports.  The seniors of 2011 were the last group to take an older state test as a graduation requirement.  Then a bill passed in the state legislature exempted students from the class of 2012 from a testing requirement while the state prepared for a new exam.  The Standards Based Assessment, already taken by all high school students, will become the new graduation exam.  This year’s crop of seniors will be the first to graduate under the new rules.  State officials say 70 percent of them have already passed the test.