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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Results announced for AZ new testing standards

Results from the first round of the Arizona Merit test have been released by the Arizona State Board of Education this year.

In 2010, the board adopted and fully implemented new state standards called the Common Core Standards, also known as the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.

As a result, there was a need to update state standardized testing from Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards to the Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching test.

The new AzMERIT test was adopted in Nov. 2014 and administered for the first time in March.

“It was a very tight turn around, which is unfortunate for schools and students who didn’t know until November when the test even was and had very little time to prepare for it,” said Charles Tack, deputy public information officer for the Arizona Department of Education.

The tests for language arts and math are administered to students in grades three through eight, and they take their assigned grade level tests.

The tests are also given to students in grades nine through 11, and students take End-of-Course tests in English, algebra I, algebra II and geometry.

The AzMERIT test differs greatly from AIMS, as it is no longer tied to high school graduation. Previously, students were required to pass both parts of the AIMS test to graduate from high school.

Andrew Vega, an Ironwood Ridge High School junior who took the AzMERIT for the first time last school year, explained his feelings toward the testing change.

“That takes away a lot of stress us students have about these standardized tests,” Vega said. “I know many of my friends have had to go through the tedious process of retaking AIMS over our high school years, but I think that also gives people less motive to do well.”

According to the release for the 2015 AzMERIT test results by the Arizona Board of Education, only 26 to 42 percent of students in grades three through 11 passed English language arts, and of those students, 30 percent to 42 percent passed mathematics.

“This kind of is a baseline year, it’s hard to compare it back to AIMS because the two tests are really very different; they’re really apples and oranges,” Tack said. “But what we know is these results show we have a lot of work to be done and there’s a lot of improvement that we need to work on together to help students achieve and improve.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, began to put in that work in April by traveling across the state on a tour called “We Are Listening.” On the tour, Douglas heard concerns that Arizonans had regarding state education and what can be done for improvement.

Douglas also developed a plan to improve education that was released in October after she finished a second “We Heard You Tour” last month. The second tour gave members of the public, parents and educators a chance to voice their thoughts on the plan.

According to Tack, this will be a yearly activity for Douglas.

“It’s only by coming together that we can hope to make real change and real difference,” Tack said.


Follow Elisabeth Morales on Twitter.


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