AzMERIT Frequently Asked Questions

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Everything You Need to Know About AzMerit Results

AzMERIT, the new state assessment to measure the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards is very different from the previous state test called AIMS. As expected, fewer students were proficient statewide on AzMERIT than on the AIMS assessment. In Tempe Elementary School District, we are committed to continual improvement and we anticipate proficiency levels to increase over time.

There are four performance levels for the AzMERIT assessment. These are:

  • Highly Proficient - indicates an advanced understanding of the content in the course or subject area
  • Proficient - indicates a strong understanding
  • Partially Proficient -indicates a minimal understanding and probable need for additional support
  • Minimally Proficient - indicates a minimal understanding and probable need for additional support.

These levels were determined based on what students at each grade level should know to move on in the subject and be successful in the next grade or course. Based on their grade level or courses, every student who took AzMERIT will receive a Family Score Report for English language arts (ELA) and math.

What does my child’s test score mean?

The new state test measures how well your child is performing in English language arts and math. AzMERIT scores are just one of several measures, including report card grades, classroom performance, and feedback from teachers, that can be used to measure your child’s academic progress.

How will my child’s score be used?

Scores will be used to better tailor instruction to individual student needs and give us a tool to see how students and schools across the state are doing.

What types of questions were on the test?

AzMERIT includes a number of different types of questions, including performance tasks that are multi-step assignments that ask students to apply their knowledge and skills to address real-world problems. In English language arts, students have to apply their research and writing skills, and in math, they solve complex problems and then describe and defend their reasoning. The test also includes traditional multiple choice questions, as well as interactive questions that require students to drag and drop their answers into a box, create equations, and fill in the answer.

What if my child did well on his or her report card, but not as well on this test?

Report card grades include multiple sources of information, including participation, work habits, group projects, and homework, all of which are important in determining a child’s academic achievement. These sources are not reflected on the test, so there may be some differences. To further explore your child’s academic achievement, talk with his or her teachers.

How can I use these test results to help my child improve?

You can use the test results to guide a discussion with your child’s teachers about additional supports or challenges that may be needed in class, as well as ways to support your child at home. Your child’s performance is broken down into categories in each subject. Therefore, you can use also this information to locate activities online that were designed specifically for each category at every grade level.

How are the new tests different?

AzMERIT tests focus on measuring real-world skills. For example, students were asked to read complex passages, analyze them, and write thoughtful responses, which is different from previous tests.

AzMERIT does not lend itself to teaching to the test. By moving away from simple fill-in-the-bubble tests, the temptation to teach to the test is eliminated. The new tests emphasize applying skills over memorization. Strong teaching coupled with engaged learning throughout the year is the best way to prepare for this test. Since the standards ensure students are learning what they need to know, and the new tests are aligned to the standards, schools can now focus on what is most important.

How was AzMERIT graded?

All of the test items are reviewed and approved by Arizona educators. That review includes confirming the answer key for items and any scoring rubrics. Items that require hand scoring are scored by trained scorers using the appropriate scoring rubric.

What resources are available to help my child?

Arizona Aims Higher: information about Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards and AzMERIT, along with tips and resources to help your child succeed in school. ArizonaAimsHigher.org.

Math Power Book: created by The Rodel Foundation of Arizona, this book was designed for parents and families who want to help their children make sense of math and covers concepts introduced in first grade all the way through sixth grade. RodelAZ.org/home/the-math-power-book

Do Your Homework Arizona: a free tool created by Stand for Children Arizona to help parents better understand homework related to Arizona’s new academic standards in math and English in kindergarten through eighth grade. DoYourHomeworkArizona.org

The AzMERIT scores are a measure of achievement level at a point in time. Test scores across the nation are highly related to demographic make-up of schools. Performance of our schools varies from lower to higher, similar to other schools with varying demographic characteristics.