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You are here: APS Home Schools Testing

Standards Based Assessment (SBA)

Students in grades 3-8, 10 & 11 are required to take the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment. The SBA also serves as the high school exit exam.

The Standards Based Assessment is given to New Mexico public and charter school students in grades 3-8, 10 and 11. The SBA also serves as the high school exit exam.

Why do students take this test?

When will my child take the test?

Does my child have to take the test?

What subjects are tested on the SBA?

What if a high school student doesn't pass the test?

What are end-of-course exams?

What if a high school senior doesn't pass the retake exam?

How can students prepare for short-answer questions?

Why do students take the test?

The SBA serves several purposes:

  • The state-mandated, standardized test is used to assess whether students meet grade-specific standards.
  • The SBA serves as the high school exit exam. Students have to pass the reading, math and science sections of the high school SBA by the end of their senior year in order to obtain a high school diploma.
  • The state's A-F school grading system relies heavily on SBA results.

When will my child take the test?

The schedule for the SBA is as follows:

High School: High school sophomores and juniors will take the SBA during the week of March 17. The schedule for high schools is as follows:

SPRING 2014 SBA

DateTesting Schedule
Monday, 3/17 No testing
Tuesday, 3/18 Reading for grades 10, 11
No school for grades 9, 12
Wednesday, 3/19 Math for grades 10, 11
No school for grades 9, 12
Thursday, 3/20 Science for grades 11
No school for grades 9, 10 & 12
Parent conferences in p.m.
Friday, 3/30 Parent conferences
No school for students
Monday, 3/24-Wednesday, 3/26 Make-up tests

Middle School: Middle school students will take the SBA the week of March 10. The schedule for middle schools is as follows:

SPRING 2014 SBA MS

DateTesting Schedule
Monday, 3/10 No testing
Tuesday, 3/11 Reading for all grades
Wednesday, 3/12

Reading for all grades in a.m.
Math for all grades in p.m.

Thursday, 3/13 Math for all grades
Friday, 3/14

Writing for 8th grade in a.m.
Science for 7th grade in a.m.
Science for 7th grade in p.m.


Elementary School:
Elementary school students in third, fourth and fifth grade will take the SBA beginning the week of March 10 and continuing through the week of March 17. The schedule for elementary schools is as follows:

SPRING 2014 SBA ES

DateTesting Schedule
Monday, 3/10 No testing
Tuesday, 3/11 Reading in a.m.
Wednesday, 3/12 Reading in a.m.
Thursday, 3/13 Reading in a.m.
Friday, 3/14 Math in a.m.
Monday, 3/17 Math in a.m.
Tuesday, 3/18 Math in a.m.
Wednesday, 3/19

Writing for grade 3 in a.m.
Science for grade 4 in a.m.

Thursday, 3/20 Writing for grades 3, 5 in a.m.
Science for grade 4 in a.m

Friday, 3/21-Wednesday, 3/26

Make-up tests*

*Make-up tests also will be taken during the afternoons of March 10-March 20

Does my child have to take the test?

Parents may request that their child be exempted from taking state or district mandate tests.

Download the exemption form in English
Download the exemption form in Spanish

What subjects are tested on the SBA?

Elementary and middle school students are tested in reading, math, science and writing.

High school students are tested in reading, math and science.

Questions are both multiple choice and short answer.

What if a high school student doesn't pass the test?

Sophomores who don't pass the test can retake it in the spring of their junior year.

Juniors who don't pass the test can retake it in the fall of their senior year.

End-of-Course Exams

In addition to passing the SBA in reading, math and science, students must pass end-of-course exams in U.S. history and writing to earn a high school diploma.

Passing scores on the end-of-course exams in science and eventually math could help students who fail the SBA still earn a high school diploma.

What if a high school senior doesn't pass the SBA retake exam?

Students who fail the SBA after several attempts may rely on passing grades on the end-of-course exams as an alternative means to earning their high school diploma.

Other alternative ways of getting the diploma, should students fail the SBA after repeated attempts, include earning specified scores on the ACT, PLAN, PSAT,  SAT, Accuplacer or AP exams.

The New Mexico Public Education Department has graduation checklist for parents and students with more details on requirements for earning a high school diploma.

How can students prepare for short-answer questions?

An examination of APS test scores has found that many students do well on the multiple choice portion of the test. However, many who score at less than proficient levels have done poorly on the short answer portion of the SBA. Some of these students simply choose not to answer these questions, they don’t answer the questions completely, or they don’t support their answers.

One way parents and school staff can prepare students for the SBA is to encourage them to answer all questions on the tests, and to make sure they answer the short questions as completely as possible. It often is helpful, especially on math and science questions, to use graphs, tables and other graphic organizers in responding to short answer questions.

Short answer scores are based on content only.

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