AzMERIT Update

  • In November 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted a new statewide achievement test for Arizona students called AzMERIT.  Replacing the previously administered AIMS test in reading, writing and math, AzMERIT was first given to Arizona students in grades 3 through 8 in Spring 2015.

    In mid-November, parents of current 4th through 8th grade students will receive a family score report with detailed information about how your child performed on both the English language arts and mathematics 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 observations about your child’s growth. The results from AzMERIT, a single point-in-time test, should be used along with all of this information to ensure your child is learning. Parent-teacher conferences and other interactions with your child’s teacher(s) provide you with ongoing information about your child’s progress.

    • New, more rigorous tests are being introduced not only in Arizona, but in most states around the country. If our students are to keep up with the students around the country when they enter college or begin a career after high school, we have to make sure Arizona students are prepared and are held to a similarly high bar.

    • Other states saw similar drops in test scores when new tests were put in place reflecting the increase in expectations for students and schools. In Arizona, teachers set the performance levels for AzMERIT, recognizing the need to raise the bar. The important thing to remember when looking at your child’s score report is that the score reflects higher expectations for what our students need to know and be able to do than what was expected of students on AIMS.  The AzMERIT test goes beyond this previous multiple-choice item bubble test by measuring a wide range of real-world skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, and analysis.

    • This is a transition year for Arizona schools. The scores from previous AIMS and the new AzMERIT are not comparable because the expectations for what students need to know and be able to do are higher and the format of the test matched this higher level application of knowledge and skills. Thus this year’s test results may seem lower than what you have come to expect from your child. There is no need to be concerned based solely on this test. We expect lower scores during this transition. Rest assured, however, that we are using the data at the District, school and student levels to build upon strengths and to improve in areas of lower performance.

    • Again, your child’s teacher is the best source for information about your child’s progress and the instruction he or she receives as we continue to implement the higher standards for all students.  Teachers share with you important information about how students are working and learning in the classroom throughout the year. Washington Elementary School District is committed to achieving excellence for every child, every day, every opportunity.