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Epic Fail: First AzMERIT scores released

by : Rachel Gliss and Tiffany Tunnell
posted on : 12/26/2015 7:24:37 AM

Last Spring, for Arizona school children in grades 3rd to 8th, the AzMERIT test replaced the AIMS test in the subjects of Mathematics, Language Arts, and Writing. The new test was largely based on Common Core standards and its goal was to mimic complex problem solving which would show a direct correlation to a higher level of thinking among students.

The results of the first AzMerit test are in, and they aren’t pretty. The AzMerit grades students using the categories highly proficient, proficient, minimally proficient, and partially proficient. The Arizona Department of Education identifies “proficient” and “highly proficient” as passing scores. However, as data as shown, much of our youth has failed to meet the standards in those categories.

Here are some of the AzMerit scores in specific grade levels:

Language Arts:

  • Grade 3 Language Arts: 41% of students considered passing
  • Grade 4 Language Arts: 42% of students considered passing
  • Grade 5 Language Arts: 32% of students considered passing
  • Grade 6 Language Arts: 36% of students considered passing
  • Grade 7 Language Arts: 32% of students considered passing
  • Grade 8 Language Arts: 35% of students considered passing

Math:

  • Grade 3 Math: 42% of students considered passing
  • Grade 4 Math: 42% of students considered passing
  • Grade 5 Math: 40% of students considered passing
  • Grade 6 Math: 33% of students considered passing
  • Grade 7 Math: 31% of students considered passing
  • Grade 8 Math: 34% of students considered passing

Not only are these scores well below previous AIMS averages, they are also well below parent and educators expectations. With only one-third of students passing Math and Language Arts, many parents are concerned their school system is failing to meet the academic needs of their children.

Also, important to note, is that charter schools are much more likely to be among the highest performing schools, while public schools are more likely to have lower test scores. According to the Arizona Charter Schools Association, 16 of 24 Charter schools had an 80% or higher passing rate on the reading portion of the test.

Also alarming is the fact that the AzMerit results have only recently been released to parents, so teachers have been teaching students for nearly half of a school year with no concrete historical data to help students become better prepared.

Another concern: Earlier this fall, with school board’s 6-2 vote, Arizona set the wheels in motion to abolish Common Core and to cut ties with the previously adopted standards.

Many parents and educators are very concerned with what will happen next in education. There is a belief that in the near future the AzMERIT test will be replaced with yet another data driven test. Although that would push the state to create a better alternative to the AzMERIT, it once again means starting with a whole new set of data which has no comparison to prior results. This is due primarily to too many variances between tests which renders them incompatible with one another.

It is clear that many students will need to supplement their education by enlisting outside services. Programs like MathRise Learning Centers, which offers one-on-one learning, can take the stress and worry off you and provide you with the assurance your child will have the necessary skills to be successful in Math and Language Arts.

Regardless of what testing system is in place, MathRise has an excellent track record of preparing students for success. In fact, several MathRise students have recently received “highly proficient” scores in both math and reading. Through practice, these students were exposed to learning opportunities that allowed to master the subject material.

For more information about MathRise Learning Centers call 623-536-7679

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