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AzMERIT Information for Parents

AzMERIT – Arizona’s Standardized Test

Arizona Department of Education website for AzMERIT information. This includes sample tests.

Parent Brochure about AzMERIT

When will I receive the results of my student's AzMERIT testing?
Students test for AzMERIT in the spring. The district receives individual Student Reports in the summer. For the 8th grade students who will not be returning to the district, these reports are mailed home, usually in early July. For all other students, the reports will be sent home with the first Midterm Report Card. If you need the records earlier, you can contact your school's registrar after school begins.

What is AzMERIT?
AzMERIT is an annual statewide test that measures how students are performing in English Language Arts and Math. Assessments can be effective tools to support your child’s learning. They can tell you and your child’s teacher if your child is on track to succeed or if he/she needs to spend additional time learning a topic.

Who takes the 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.

When are students taking AzMERIT?
The AzMERIT spring semester testing window runs from April 2 – 10, 2018 for the schools that do Paper-based testing, and April 2 – 27, 2018 for the schools that do Computer-based testing. In the LESD district, the schools that are Computer-based are Litchfield Elementary, Rancho Santa Fe Elementary, and Western Sky Middle School. All of the other schools do Paper-based testing. Check with your child’s teacher in the spring for testing dates, times, and other specific test administration information.

Why do we test?
The purpose of the AzMERIT test is to check on your child’s academic progress. The information from these tests will provide a constant benchmark that you can track over the course of your child’s education. 

What does my child’s test score mean? 
The state test measures how well your child is performing in English Language Arts (Reading and Writing) 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 is the new AZMERIT test different from the former state test, AIMS?
Compared to the AIMS test that was used in the past, the AzMERIT test measures more complex skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and analysis. The expectations have been raised for students. 

How will my child’s score be used?
Scores will be used to better tailor instruction to individual student needs and as a tool to see how students and schools across the state are doing.

What types of questions are 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, 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.
The Computer-based test has interactive questions that require students to drag and drop their answers into a box. There are questions requiring students to 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 also use this information to locate activities online that were designed specifically for each category at every grade level.

How is AzMERIT graded?
Groups of Arizona teachers hand grade the essay questions from AzMERIT and provide recommendations for scoring the entire test. The test vendor grades the multiple choice and short answer questions, and provides all the results to the Arizona Department of Education to calculate. The Arizona State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the final scoring levels.

When are the test results provided?  How will I receive my child’s score report?
Districts and charters will receive copies of each student’s score report in June. In the Litchfield Elementary School District, reports for 8th graders who have been promoted and will not be returning to the district are mailed to the parents. All other students will take home their AzMERIT scoring reports with their first midterm Progress Report, which is in early September.

What is Move on When Reading (MOWR)?
“Move On When Reading” is a state law that requires a student not be promoted from third grade to fourth grade if the student is reading at a much lower level than is expected of a third grader. A student’s AzMERIT reading level is determined using the “Reading for Information” and “Reading for Literature” scoring categories of this AzMERIT English language arts assessment. You can find more details about your child’s performance on these two areas on the back of the family score report. In the Litchfield School District, there are many factors considered when determining if a third grader will move on. We have many programs to help children who are stuggling with their reading. If the district thinks it will be in the best interest of a child to be held back, they will discuss this with the parents before the child's third grade year ends. The district does not wait until the AzMERIT results are in before this decision is made. Parents do not need to be concerned that they will get a surprise phone call in the summer stating that their child will be retained.