NV State Board of Education Approves New Science Standards, Extends Transitional Cut Score for HSPE


Judy Osgood


Carson City, NV - February 25, 2014

For Immediate Release

The Nevada State Board of Education adopted amendments to the Nevada Academic Content Standards in Science at its meeting today. The Board also approved a revised High school Proficiency Exam (HSPE) math cut score for students in the 2015 and 2016 Cohorts (e.g., currently enrolled in 11th and 10th grades).

"The new science standards reflect the vision and content of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), an internationally benchmarked, rigorous, research-based set of standards aligned with expectations for college and careers," said Superintendent Dale Erquiaga. The Board's adoption of the science standards represents the third and final step in the standards revision process. Previously, on August 23, 2013, the Nevada Council to Establish Academic Standards voted 5-0 to recommend to the SBE that Nevada consider the NGSS as its Nevada State Academic Science Standards. The Board of Education conducted a workshop at its September 4, 2013 meeting to solicit comments on the proposed standards and voted unanimously to advance the revision of the current Nevada State Academic Science Standards to be an actionable item at a future Board meeting.

In other action, the Board decided to extend the "transitional" cut score of 242 on the Mathematics HSPE that was established in 2010 for the 2014 Cohort, including those students enrolled in Adult Education. The current score will remain in place for existing 10th and 11th grade students, the two classes still required to pass the HSPE in order to earn a standard high school diploma as the HSPE sunsets and new end of course assessments begin.  The Board decided to consider options related to scoring the math HSPE during the final years of administration after hearing concerns communicated in testimony at prior meetings.  In a letter to the Board, Nevada Association of School Superintendents President Jeff Zander supported the vote.  "This adjustment provides an approach that is both fair and defensible in it statistical computation for the affected graduating classes," Zander wrote.

The transitional 242 cut score was implemented in 2010 in order to allow instruction to the new 2008 math standards so that students could prepare for the new rigor. However, the math standards were revised again in 2010, presenting a valid reason to extend the 242 cut score for the March 2013 and March 2014 administrations of the HSPE.

The revised HSPE math cut score will be retroactively applied to students in the 2015 Cohort with a valid score from a prior administration of the HSPE. The revision to the HSPE math cut score does not affect any other provision of the HSPE.