New Mexico Achievement Gap Projects

Analytic Technical Support

New Mexico Achievement Gap Data Inventory (completed)

REL Southwest has completed a data inventory for the New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance. This inventory provides information on data sources, the data elements contained within those sources, and the applicability of the data to inform and advance the alliance's research agenda. Sources include data collected and maintained by the New Mexico Public Education Department, the New Mexico Higher Education Department, the U.S. Department of Education, and other organizations. Data elements included in the inventory focus on students from prekindergarten through high school and their postsecondary outcomes, with a particular interest in Hispanic and Native American populations.

Measuring Noncognitive Factors Through Student Surveys (completed)

This three-part workshop series focused on building alliance members' knowledge and understanding of the noncognitive aspects of learning (for example, self-discipline, goal setting, grit, resilience) that research has shown to be related to students' transitional successes and struggles from grade 8 to grade 9. In addition, the project built the capacity of alliance members to design, pilot test, and administer surveys. The project resulted in the construction of a survey to measure noncognitive and school context factors related to the transition from grade 8 to grade 9. REL Southwest plans to administer this survey to students in 10 to 15 school districts in New Mexico as part of a future study (see proposed research below).

Understanding Logic Models Technical Assistance (completed)

This targeted technical assistance was provided as a follow-up to two Understanding Logic Models workshops. The assistance built alliance members' capacity to critically appraise programs that have been successful elsewhere and rigorously evaluated to determine their potential in New Mexico. The focus was on programs to improve student transitions.

Research and Evaluation Studies

New Mexico High School Course-Taking Patterns Study

REL Southwest is conducting a study to examine course-taking patterns across student subgroups in New Mexico public high schools. The study findings will identify any student subgroups that are underparticipating in certain types of courses and will assist alliance members and other stakeholders in developing strategies to promote equitable opportunities for all high school students in the state.

Descriptive Study of New Mexico's New High School Graduation Assessment and Course Requirements

REL Southwest is conducting a study to describe New Mexico high school students' enrollment and performance in math and science courses, graduation exam scores, and graduation rates before and after the state's new graduation requirements went into effect in 2013. The results will inform policymakers as they evaluate and refine the state's high school graduation requirements. The results will also serve as useful baseline information for evaluating additional changes in graduation requirements that went into effect in 2015.

Assessing the Role of Noncognitive and School Environmental Factors in New Mexico Students’ Grade 9 Transitions

The alliance seeks to close achievement gaps by improving grade 9 transitions for Hispanic and Native American students in New Mexico. In particular, alliance members are interested in students’ academic preparation for high school and the relationships between noncognitive factors and student success in grade 9. At the alliance’s request, REL Southwest is conducting a study examining grade 9 students’ perceptions of their noncognitive skills and high school environments and how those perceptions relate to students’ academic success in grade 9.

Understanding Connections Between English and Spanish Proficiency for English Learner Students in New Mexico

REL Southwest is conducting a study to gain a better understanding of the co-development of English learner (EL) students' proficiency in their first and second languages in early elementary school. The study will also explore how growth in both English and Spanish language and literacy proficiency contributes to EL students' academic performance in upper elementary school. The findings will provide the New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance with a model for the use of state data to track the progress of English learners longitudinally.