In November 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted a new statewide achievement test for Arizona students called AzMERIT. This new assessment was given to Arizona students in grades 3 through high school for the first time in spring 2015. It replaces the previously administered AIMS test in reading, writing and math. AIMS Science tests were still given to students in grades 4, 8 and in high school.
In a few short weeks, we will be sharing your child’s results from last year with you. You will receive a comprehensive family score report with detailed information about how your child performed on both the English language arts and math portions of the AzMERIT test. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
Teachers have multiple ways they measure student learning. AzMERIT is just one of those tools. Throughout the school year, there are many ways teachers assess how students are doing in their classroom, including classwork, homework, quizzes, projects, and teacher and counselor observations about your child’s growth. The results from AzMERIT should be used along with all of this information to ensure your child is on track to succeed.
This is a transition year for Arizona schools. AzMERIT looks different from previous tests because it is a new test and is setting a higher bar for what students need to know and be able to do. Teachers, students, and parents are all making adjustments and getting used to the modified way teachers are teaching and students are learning. This year’s test results may seem lower than what you have come to expect from your child. There is no need to be alarmed, because that is what we expect during this transition. It doesn’t mean your child is doing worse. Instead the scores will provide a more accurate view of how your child is doing.
We are on the right track. Arizona is asking more from our students so they can achieve their full potential. The AzMERIT test goes beyond the previous bubble test by measuring a wide range of real-world skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, and analysis. For high school students, this exam is NOT required for graduation. It is, however, the most accurate tool available to measure whether your child is mastering the skills we expect of our young people.
Remember, your child’s teachers are your best resources for information. When you get your child’s score report, they should be your first call. They can answer your questions about how to use these results to support your child’s learning at home. I encourage you to review the results with them and discuss areas for additional support and practice with your child.
Arizona is working hard to get the scoring right on these new tests; that’s why you are receiving last year’s results well after the start of this school year. We know it is frustrating for parents and teachers to receive the scores now, but in subsequent years, the goal is to have scores available by the end of the same school year, so teachers and parents have a clear understanding of each student’s strengths and areas for improvement.
Together, let’s make this the best school year yet!