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How to properly prepare your child for Arizona standardized testing

PHOENIX — As the weather starts to warm up, flowers begin to bloom and students sit in their chairs, anxiously awaiting summer, it’s just one more sign that it’s that time of year again: standardized testing time.

Starting on Tuesday, students in Arizona will begin to take the Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching test, otherwise known as AzMERIT, for the second year in a row.

The statewide exam will challenge all third- through 12th-graders on subjects such as English, language arts and math and measures the state’s new teaching standards, known as Common Core.

President and CEO of Expect More Arizona Pearl Chang Esau said the test, formerly known as AIMS, will give students a good indication of whether they are on the right track for college.

“It was more of a measure of critical thinking and a better indicator of whether students are actually on track to graduate high school, ready for career or ready for college,” she said.

Last year, when the test was first implemented, hundreds of students in Chandler, Arizona, took a defiant stance and walked out on the AzMERIT exam.

The test also made headlines last year after Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas interrupted a room of students who were taking the exam.

The results found that most students statewide failed the exam, reflecting poorly on the state’s education system. Only 34 percent of all students passed the English test, while 35 percent passed the math one.

However, Esau said parents should be more optimistic about this year’s test results.

“Our word of encouragement and advice to parents and teachers is not to panic,” she said. “Last year was the first year, (and) this year, hopefully, we’ll see some encouraging trend data in the right direction.”

Esau said parents should pump their children up for a day of test-taking by not putting too much emphasis on it, but at the same time preparing their children to take it seriously.

“Tests should just be a reflection of what a child is learning and has been doing all year,” she said.

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