Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education

The Elephant in the Classroom

The Elephant in the Classroom - Too Many Tests!

The Elephant in the Classroom - Too Many Tests!


This cartoon is a sneak preview of the upcoming Beacon, which should appear in the next few weeks.  We're releasing it early because it resonates all-too-well with an article by Hailey Heinz in the Albuquerque Journal for Thursday, May 9th entitled "Some N.M. students face dual final exams.And, we should mention that CESE's very own Lisa Durkin is prominently featured in the article!

A snippet:

Teachers, parents, students and school board members around New Mexico have pushed back in recent weeks against new state end-of-course exams being given in certain core high school classes.

Chief among their complaints are that the tests are taking more time away from instruction and that students who already spend much of the spring semester taking exams are now being tested twice on the same content.

“At some point, we’re losing so much instructional time that we don’t have time to instruct for the subject that they’re being tested on,” said Lisa Durkin, who teaches biology at Valencia High School in Los Lunas. “And the kids aren’t taking the test seriously, because they’ve had to take so many tests that it just doesn’t mean anything to them anymore.”

State education chief Hanna Skandera said this week she never intended for students to take the end-of-course exams in addition to their existing finals, and agrees that is too much time spent on testing.

Well said, Lisa!


Comparison of CESE Results to PED Grades

How do CESE Canonical Correlation Results compare to PED Grades?

One of the questions that is most asked of CESE when we present the CESE method is how the CESE Method results compare to the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) grades.  Here is a two-page introduction that summarizes and provides context for a 29-page briefing which provides detailed comparisons for 2012 New Mexico school grades.


Message from CESE President Ken Whiton

I am Ken Whiton, a retired APS teacher, writing to introduce you to The Coalition for Excellence in Math and Science Education (CESE).

CESE is composed of interested citizens throughout New Mexico and the nation, including scientists, engineers, educators, university faculty, members of the clergy, community leaders and parents. CESE is non-profit, non-partisan and non-sectarian, and welcomes members of all religions and political philosophies. The Coalition works to improve all education, concentrating on science and math literacy for all citizens. We also provide support to teachers, students, the public, and to public officials, when requested.  Recent newspaper articles about CESE are posted on our website:

As you will see, we have analyzed the Public Education Department’s method of grading schools, and found it to be needlessly complex and unjustified in some of its assumptions. It also combines factors that offer no added information concerning school performance. This can cause a school’s grade to be out-of-line with respect to the school’s actual performance.

CESE has created an evaluation system which takes into account those areas in students’ lives that are beyond any school staff’s control. This method actually provides a means of showing schools how to learn and not just telling them how they are performing. This is not to excuse poor performance or lack of achievement, but to make sure educators are not penalized by an evaluation system which does not capture the realities of a school’s population. Using our method, CESE statisticians have found that many low-scoring schools are actually “out-performing” as predicted by their demographics. This leads to the method for identifying the schools that should be studied for best practices to pass on to those with similar demographic profiles. This also provides for recognition of the outperforming schools and personnel that would otherwise be non-existent.

CESE is the only organization working to improve education that wants and actively seeks educator and school staff input and membership. Five of the 15 members of our board currently teach in our public schools. What we do not have and are now seeking is administrators’ input. We all recognize the importance of effective leadership in all schools.  We need you! 

I invite you to visit our website to learn more about us. I also invite you to join us and participate in our discussions at whatever level of involvement your time permits. We would appreciate your permission to e-mail relevant items to you for your comment, again, as your time permits.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time,

Ken Whiton, President, CESE


CESE In the News

The Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education (CESE) was mentioned prominently in a July 26th article in the Capitol Report New Mexico.

The report notes that:

Roundhouse Democrats and officials in the Susana Martinez administration are exchanging verbal shots over the governor’s school reforms — and a little-known educational group cited by the Democrats didn’t even know it was even being prominently mentioned in the debate.

and continues:

The Democrats’ news release called on the Martinez administration “to adopt the educational reform recommendations developed by the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education.”

On Thursday afternoon, Capitol Report New Mexico called R. [M.] Kim Johnson, who is a past president and board member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education (CESE) who said he had not heard that his organization was cited in the Roundhouse Democrats’ news release until he was told by this reporter.

“We were not aware they were going to say that,” Johnson said, although he added that “I’m not unpleased” to hear the news.


A retired physicist, Johnson says educational reform is “more complex than simply adopting a method” and said he had talked to Rep. Miera at a recent Legislative Education Study Commitee meeting.

When asked about the A-through-F law, Johnson said, “some of the things they score on are mixing apples and oranges.”

Stay tuned for updates on this breaking news.

CESE is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is non-partisan, and does not advocate for any specific political party.

All we care about is having New Mexico schools perform to their potential. That has always been our dream.

You may read the NM Democrats Press Release here. CESE was invited to perform  an analysis by the request of the LESC, and the information generated for this work is in the public domain. Contact CESE if you would like more information.