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New Mexico NMSBA Test Prep

About New Mexico’s Standardized Tests for 3rd Grade – High School

Are your kids preparing for the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment, known as NMSBA? NMSBA is a statewide assessment program administered in third grade through high school. These New Mexico standardized tests assess reading, math, writing, science, and social studies. The results provide actionable data that will help parents, teachers, and students improve academic performance. NMSBA tests are also used to determine each school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Time4Learning, an online service that teaches many of the skills that these exams test, offers this page to help you understand the NMSBA and how you can help your children prepare.

NMSBA at a Glance

New Mexico public, charter, and private school students take the following NMSBA tests:

NMSBA: 3rd Grade – 8th Grade

Aligned to New Mexico state standards, which define what students should learn each year, the NMSBA tests measure students’ critical thinking skills in the major content areas. Students in 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades take level-specific NMSBA tests in reading, math, writing, and science.

High School Tests: NMHSSA and NMHSCE

Eleventh grade students are assessed using the New Mexico High School Standards Assessment (NMHSSA), which is a standards-based test that measures how well students are mastering reading, math, writing, science, and social studies. The New Mexico High School Competency Examination (NMHSCE) is given to all students in 10th grade and to students in 11th grade and 12th grade who have not yet passed all sections of the test. High school students must pass all sections of the NMHSCE in order to graduate.


NMSBA and NMHSSA exams are criterion-referenced tests, as opposed to norm-referenced tests. Thus, your child will only compete against him or herself, rather than be compared against the group. NMSBA and NMHSSA tests are scored based on the student’s level of proficiency in each of the subject areas. Students are rated at one of four performance levels: beginning step, nearing proficiency, proficient, or advanced. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level.

Other New Mexico Standardized Tests

The New Mexico Statewide Assessment Program (NMSAP) uses a balanced range of assessments that promote learning for all students. The New Mexico Alternate Performance Assessment (NMAPA) is designed to measure the progress of students with severe disabilities who require special accommodations. English Language Learners take the New Mexico English Language Performance Assessment (NMELPA), which measures their proficiency in English. New Mexico also participates annually in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, where a sampling of students (from grades 4, 8, and/or 12) are tested in several content areas as part of a nationally representative assessment of student performance. A good source of information on New Mexico Standards-Based Assessments is the New Mexico Department of Education.

Preparing for the NMSBA Tests

For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page. The real preparation for the NMSBA, or any standardized test, begins with your commitment to your children’s education throughout their school years. All families should devote time and effort to helping their students learn, starting with making sure that homework gets done and reading every day becomes a habit. Many families also employ tutors or an online learning program, such as Time4Learning, to build fundamental skills. In addition, families use test prep programs or books to help their children become familiar with test formats and time restrictions, learn test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), and practice strategies for different types of questions. For instance, in the case of a reading passage followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions prior to reading the passage so that students will know what areas of the text require close reading. Time4Learning is not a test prep program, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.

Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.

The online language arts and math comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided for most grades.

Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.

Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.

Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.

Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!

For more information and resources on New Mexico Education, visit:

New Mexico Homeschooling Information
New Mexico State Parent Forum

PreK - 8th

  • Monthly First Student
  • $14.95/month for each additional student

9th - 12th

  • Monthly Per Student
  • Includes 4 courses

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