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New Mexico: Teacher Credentialing in New Mexico

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While having good teachers is an essential part of a good education, it has to begin with teacher credentialing. Each state has specific regulations they put into place in order to ensure they hire only the best to teach their students. The New Mexico Teacher Assessment has several components that are requirements prior to any teacher obtaining certification to teach in the state and are different at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. The New Mexico Staff Accountability Plan of 1881 mandated this assessment as a prerequisite to becoming a licensed teacher, another requirement for obtaining employment as a teacher in New Mexico.

As a result of the NMTA requirement, the New Mexico Public Education Department named Pearson as the evaluation group of choice for fulfillment of the testing program necessary to meet the state requirements for teacher credentialing and licensing. The NMTA program is intended solely to identify those candidates who have shown they have the ability and skills necessary to allow them to perform proficiently as an educator within the New Mexico public school system. The MTA addresses areas that have already been covered by the Public Education Department Teacher Competencies and Indicators as well as polices that exist within state documentation. The tests are based on both criterion and competency with the criterion-based evaluation intended as a measurement of a candidate's individual skills compared to an existing standard as opposed to comparing it to how other candidates perform.

The test questions were developed based upon the usage of educational materials that are essential within the state of New Mexico including but not limited to textbooks, framework of the curriculum, licensing standards, and much more. Before the questions were put into use they were reviewed by various committees of New Mexico educators, faculty involved in education preparation, and other specialists of educational content and assessment. Each test within the program covers a different facet of the New Mexico teaching profession and includes the following tests:

  • New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
  • New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency
  • New Mexico Content Knowledge Assessments

Those who are applying for initial licensing or wish to add skills to their current licensing must take the content knowledge tests if they are seeking licensing in the following areas:

  • Elementary education
  • Special education
  • Administrator within the educational system
  • Reading
  • Language arts
  • History
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Civics and government
  • Math
  • Science
  • Modern and classical languages such as Spanish, German, and French
  • Visual arts
  • Music
  • Teachers of ESL
  • Library media, family and consumer science
  • Teachers of physical education
  • Teachers of health

Any individual who is applying for licensing as a school counselor for the first time must take the Content Knowledge Assessment for school counselors. Likewise those applying as educational diagnosticians must take the Content Knowledge Assessment for that category. School Psychologists must take the NTE Specialty Area Exam in School Psychology each period prior to the expiration of their current license.

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