AzMERIT Information and Resources

In November 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted a new statewide achievement test, AzMERIT, for Arizona students in grades 3-11. AzMERIT is a required state assessment that replaces AIMS for mathematics, reading, and writing and is an untimed test. AzMERIT was selected because it goes beyond multiple choice questions to provide a better indicator of what students have learned over the course of a school year.

AzMERIT is administered during a testing window, which runs from March 28 – May 6 for the computer-based tests and March 28 – April 8 for the paper and pencil tests. Students in public district and charter schools in 3rd grade through high school take the AzMERIT test each spring. For high school students, the test is given at the end of their courses, similar to a final exam.

AzMERIT family score reports will not be delivered to districts to then disseminate to parents until July 11, 2016.

Performance Levels
The performance levels were set by veteran Arizona teachers. They had high expectations for students and focused on what students should be able to do once we fully implement the standards, not just what many students can do today. Performance labels for AzMERIT are Highly Proficient, Proficient, Partially Proficient and Minimally Proficient. Cut-off scores for each performance label were determined based on what students at each grade level should know, not by the percentage of questions students answered correctly.

A New Baseline
The results we are receiving are the new baseline.  It is a completely different test than AIMS, so comparing the results to AIMS is not appropriate. The information from these tests will provide a constant, objective benchmark schools can track over the course of every student’s education. The important thing these results tell us is not that scores are falling, but that expectations are soaring. What students need to know and be able to do on the AzMERIT test requires much more than the AIMS test. The teachers who set the performance levels saw where AIMS passing was on the new test, and went way above that.

Higher Expectations and Benchmarks
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 go off to college and the workplace, we have to make sure Arizona students are held to a similarly high bar. Other states saw a large drop in the percent proficient, similar to what we saw in Arizona, when new tests were put in place. This indicates that all states have significantly increased what is expected of students and schools.

Helpful Resources
AzMERIT Overview
Webinar and PowerPoint
AzMERIT Toolkit for Educators
AzMERIT Toolkit for Schools and Districts
Expect More Arizona Parent Resources
AZEdNews Test Prep: Groups Educate Parents on AzMERIT Results

Mesa Public Schools: AzMERIT materials (English and Spanish)
Mesa Public Schools: generic videos and print materials