Frequently Asked Questions
The questions and answers below are provided to support schools and districts in implementing the graduation requirements for the classes of 2019-2021 and the new graduation requirements for the class of 2022 and graduating classes thereafter.
Graduating Class of 2022
2022 Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 8/31/2018)
Graduating Classes of 2019-2021
- Unit: High school measurement of credit. The assigning of credit is outlined by individual district policies.
- Credit Hour: Undergraduate college measurement of credit. Three college credit hours are equivalent to one high school unit as defined by the Dual Credit rule (6.30.7 NMAC).
Students who return to school within two years of dropping out must complete the graduation requirements of the year in which they would have graduated. If students return to school after more than two years out, they are re-assigned to a new graduating class (called a “cohort”). These students must meet the graduation requirements of their reassigned cohort.
This cohort reassignment policy went into effect in the fall of 2013. Students, who re-enrolled before January, 2014 are grandfathered into this policy and may meet the graduation requirements of the cohort in which they should have graduated until August 1, 2016. After August 1, 2016, these students must meet the graduation requirements of their reassigned cohort.
Initial Demonstration of Competency – Classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015
- Math and Reading: Students must achieve a composite score of 2273 on the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment (SBA), with neither individual score below nearing proficient. Students who have not met this requirement through any combination of math and reading assessments from all high school SBA administrations can use the ADC.
- Science: Students must achieve a score of 38 on the New Mexico SBA as an H3 or H4 student. Students who have not met this requirement from all high school SBA administrations can use the ADC.
- Social Studies: Students must pass a PED-produced or district-developed, PED-approved social studies EoC. Students who attempt, but do not pass, at least one social studies EoC may instead pass a social studies CCR indicator or another EoC as an ADC.
- Writing: Students must pass a PED-produced or district-developed, PED-approved writing EoC or a writing CCR indicator.
Initial Demonstration of Competency—Classes of 2016 and 2017
- Math and Reading: Students must achieve a composite score of 2273 on the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment (SBA), with neither individual score below nearing proficient, OR students must score a 3 on the PARCC assessment in both math and reading.
- Science: Students must achieve a score of 38 on the New Mexico SBA or a 3 on the science PARCC test.
- Social Studies: Students must pass a PED-produced or district-developed, PED-approved social studies EoC. Students who attempt but do not pass at least one social studies EoC may instead pass a social studies CCR indicator.
- Writing: Students must pass the writing PARCC test with a 3.
Students who do not pass the Initial Demonstration of Competency may use the Alternate Demonstration of Competency (ADC). The PED has approved numerous assessments including EoCs, AP, PSAT, SAT, PLAN, ACT, Accuplacer, COMPASS, or IB exams. For details, see the ADC Manual or Graduation Checklists. Only for students graduating by August 1, 2014, districts and charter schools have the option to develop their own ADC that meets the standards-alignment and rigor set forth in NMAC 18.104.22.168.
Courses in the 1000 sequence in the SY19 STARS Manual are generally available for credit. Please refer to the course description in the manual for detailed information.
Note: Elective English courses that align to the New Mexico 9–12 English standards or higher may count towards fulfilling the requirements for graduation. Districts and charters must use the Graduation Waiver form to request permission. If the courses are college level courses and are part of a Dual Credit Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Graduation Waiver is not necessary.
Courses in the 2000 sequence in the SY19 STARS Manual are generally available for credit. Please refer to the course description in the manual for detailed information.
Note: Mathematics courses that align to the New Mexico 9–12 math standards or higher may count towards fulfilling the requirements for graduation. For students entering grade 9 in the 2009–2010 school year or thereafter, four units of mathematics are required, one of which is equivalent to, or higher than, the level of Algebra 2.
Note: Districts may develop local policy to allow specific college-level mathematics courses to count toward the four math units required for graduation. For a college course to provide dual credit for a high school graduation requirement, the college and high school course curricula must be cross-walked to address the Common Core State Standards. The cross-walk only requires approval by the local school board.
Additionally, placement into a college course should include a demonstration of student proficiency. The student should score at or above the established cut score on the postsecondary placement test where the course will be taken; e.g. Accuplacer.
No. State rule at 22.214.171.124 NMAC allows parents to waive the Algebra II requirement for a student and replace it with a math course as determined by the student’s Next Step Plan. If this student fails the HSGA in math, the student may take an EoC for the replacement math course.
We highly recommend that schools do not offer the Algebra II waiver for students on the standard pathway since the information and skills acquired in this course will help them as they prepare for high-stakes exams and success in college and career. Please note that the SBA and HSGA are aligned with the New Mexico state standards, not with courses. The way in which math departments allocate standards for coverage in specific classes depends on the school. We assume that every student will cover the full range of skills and content outlined in the standards in whichever four math courses they take in high school.
A career cluster course is an identified career-technical education course. These courses are part of an aligned, sequential series of courses within a related grouping of occupations in a given industry sector. Completing a series of career cluster courses may result in an industry-recognized certification or post-secondary degree and add relevance to the high school curricula. Career-Technical Education in the Standards of Excellence. This does not include courses already identified as meeting other specified graduation requirements.
Some examples include:
- Driver Education
- STARS 0817—Drivers’ Education—Classroom Only
- Financial Literacy
- STARS 2797—Social Studies
- STARS 0517—Family and Consumer Science
- STARS 0225—Business
- Student Service Learning
- STARS 2212—Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
- STARS 0851—Community Service
- Student Service Learning can also be an approach to education. STARS Codes for this include:
- STARS 0137—Agricultural Leadership/Communication
- STARS 0297—Business Work Experience (Co-op) (formerly Business Work Site Experience Cooperative Education – OJT)
- STARS 1897—Marketing Mentorship and Internship
- Media Literacy
- STARS 0805—Media Literacy
It is the district’s decision whether to offer the courses for one unit or fewer. Some of the course codes listed above are for one unit, and some are for 0.5 units.
STARS 2097—Financial Literacy—Mathematics.
No, a mathematics endorsement is required for STARS 2097. A social studies endorsement is required for STARS 2797.
Honors courses are developed locally to meet the needs of accelerated students. Honors classes offer the same curriculum that non-honors courses offer, but they are more challenging. Honors courses are generally faster paced and cover topics more in depth. However, these courses are not usually considered equivalent to college-level work. (See Section 22-13-1.4 NMSA 1978)
AP courses are taught by highly qualified high school teachers who use the AP Course Descriptions to guide them. The course description for each discipline outlines the course content, describes the curricular goals of the subject, and provides sample examination questions. While the course descriptions are a significant source of information about the course content on which the AP Exams will be based, AP teachers have the flexibility to determine how this content is presented. Published in the spring of the school year before the course will be taught, the course descriptions are available in AP Central, accompanied by a course perspective written by an experienced AP teacher. These perspectives represent the personal viewpoints and teaching styles of their authors; however, the PED hopes they will provide insight and inspiration for other educators. AP courses are aligned to college rigor and go through a course audit from College Board to ensure the curriculum being taught meets its standards. AP courses are taught in the high school and are aligned to meet high school standards and benchmarks.
No. Visit the College Board AP Central page for more information.
Yes, the intention is for academically rigorous courses to be offered for one unit. 22-13-1.1. (G). Graduation Requirements. For students entering the ninth grade beginning in the 2009-2010 school year, at least one of the units required for graduation shall be earned as an AP or Honors course, a dual-credit course offered in cooperation with an institution of higher education or a distance-learning course.
The intent is that a student receives instruction that spans the entire set of standards for a course, whether a half-unit course or a full-unit course and the one unit required by this law must be delivered by the same delivery method and model (AP or Honors or distance education or Dual Credit).
Yes. The purpose of High School Redesign is to ensure that students are exposed to the entire set of standards that guide the specific course. Since these courses are half credit courses, students are exposed to all the standards for the course.
No. The intent of the law is that students receive instruction aligned to the entire set of standards that guide the specific course. These two courses are not in the same discipline, so the student is not exposed to all the standards for the course.
No. The intent of the law is that students take one unit of AP, Dual Credit, Honors, or Distance Learning. This is interpreted to mean that the entire unit is in the same course, so the student will receive instruction that spans the entire set of standards or AP content and the same delivery method and model.
All LEAs must complete a Dual Credit Master Agreement with at least one local NM public/tribal postsecondary institution. The LEA must submit the Master Agreement to the NMPED according to the directions found on the Dual Credit Page. Dual credit courses must be listed in the approved MOU between the public school and the college/university before students can take the college course.
If a high school student is taking a course for credit at an institution of higher education but not receiving high school graduation credit at the primary enrollment high school location, the student is considered to be enrolled concurrently. If, however, the same student is taking a class for credit at an institution of higher education which also counts for credit toward high school graduation, the student is considered to be dually enrolled. Students who are enrolled in a dual credit course do so at public expense.
Within the STARS database, courses are identified at a local level as meeting graduation requirements.
Distance learning refers to the technology and educational process used to provide credit or grade- bearing courses in which the course provider and the distance-learning student are not necessarily physically present at the same time or place. Distance learning does not include educational software that utilizes only on-site teaching. A distance learning course is one in which the student and primary instructor are separated by time or space and linked by technology.
Computer-assisted Instruction without an online teacher is not considered a distance-learning course. Thus, distance learning does not include educational software that utilizes only on-site teaching and self-paced learning.
Online courses that utilize highly qualified teachers at-a-distance, such as those offered by the Blended Learning Bureau, do meet the criteria for distance learning courses.
Yes. High school graduation requirements only require one year of a language other than English. However, many colleges require two consecutive years of the same language as part of their admission requirements.