Parent Guide to Your Child’s Test Results
This past spring, your child took the new statewide test in math and English language arts called AzMERIT. The test was designed to be a tool for parents, teachers and students to tell us if your child is on track to succeed in his current grade and in the future. You should use your child’s AzMERIT scores along with classroom assignments, homework, grades, and your conversations with his or her teachers to have a complete picture of how your child is doing.
We hope you’ll find the following information helpful as you review your score reports. Please contact your child’s teachers to talk through the results and how you can work together to help your child
What should you take away from this report?
This AzMERIT score report helps you understand your child’s academic achievement. You can see how your child is performing in comparison to peers in the same grade level, school, and district. In addition to giving you an overall score, the report also breaks down each subject into categories to provide you with a better understanding of how your child performed in different areas of math and English.
Why am I first receiving last year’s score now?
Arizona is working hard to get the scoring right on these new tests; therefore, students are receiving last year’s results this fall. We know it is frustrating for parents and teachers, but in subsequent years, the goal is to have scores available by the end of the school year.
Why does my child’s score look different than scores on previous tests?
Because AzMERIT is a new test, the first year test scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured. Your child’s score, as well as school and district results, may appear lower this year because the tests measure more complex skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and analysis. A low score does not mean your child did not improve or learned less. It simply means that the expectations have been raised for students and the results provide a more accurate picture of how your child is progressing. These scores cannot be compared to previous test scores since they focus on different skills.
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/mathpowerDo 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
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 if my child did well on his or her report card last year, but not as well on this test?
The new tests are only one of several measures that are used to determine your child’s academic performance. Report card grades include multiple sources of information – 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/her teacher.
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 long will it be before I can see progress in my child’s score?
As teachers spend more time focusing on the content outlined in the new standards and students gain more practice with the skills, scores are expected to improve over time.
What types of questions were asked?
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, 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.
How are the new tests different?
They 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. This was also the first time a statewide test included a writing section at every grade level.
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 was 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, instead of test prep.
Why is there a new test?
In 2010, The Arizona State Board of Education adopted new standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. With the adoption of the new standards, a new assessment was necessary.
What is AzMERIT?In November 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted the new statewide achievement test Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching (AzMERIT), which will replace the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test, except for the science component. Arizona partnered with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to develop the test.
Who will take AzMERIT?Students in 3rd grade through high school will take AzMERIT. Students in 3rd through 8th grade will take an assessment in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Students currently enrolled in high school level English and Mathematics classes that satisfy the first three credits required for graduation in these courses will take end-of-course assessments that will test their proficiency in these subjects.AIMS Science will continued to be administered to students in the 4th and 8th grades and to high school students in 9th or 10th grade who take a Biology class.
Are high school students required to pass AzMERIT to graduate?No, students are not required to pass the AzMERIT assessment to graduate. As of February 20th, 2015, current juniors and seniors are also no longer required to pass the AIMS test to graduate. Starting with the Class of 2017, students will need to pass a civics test to graduate.
Will the scores on AzMERIT be the same as AIMS?
While AIMS had four score levels - Exceeds, Meets, Approaches and Falls Far Below, it is still undetermined how many score levels AzMERIT will have and what they will be called.