Graduation Requirements Chart

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Instruction and Federal Programs


1118 West Aztec Blvd., Aztec, NM  87410

Phone (505)334-9505        Fax (505) 599-4389

Judy Englehart, Director

New Mexico Graduation Requirements

New Mexico state law requires that in addition to earning the course credits required for graduation, students must pass standards-based assessments in order to earn a diploma.  Standards-based assessments, which are taken by students in grades 3 through 8 and grades 10 and 11, measure whether students have learned the material contained in the Common Core State Standards or the New Mexico State Standards.  Standards define what students should know, understand, and be able to do in each subject at each grade level.  

Students in the class of 2013 must pass the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment (NMSBA, also known for graduation purposes as the New Mexico High School Graduation Exam, or HSGA) in language arts and math or through several  alternate options for demonstration of competency. 

Students of the Class of 2014 and beyond demonstrate competency by passing the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment or New Mexico High School Graduation Exam.  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. 

Students must achieve a score that demonstrates college and career readiness, meaning that they are ready to enter college or a career without the need for remedial courses.  If students cannot demonstrate the required competencies, they will not 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 science (on the H3 or junior test only).  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.  Students who do not pass the science portion of the test must use the alternate demonstration of competency for that area. 

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 such as the ACT college entrance exam.


What If a Student Doesn't Pass?

Students not passing all sections of the NMSBA/HSGA in reading and math will an opportunity in the fall of 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. 

Who Can Provide Help or Advice?

Parents are encouraged to stay in close touch with their child's teachers.  If you are concerned your 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.