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Arizona students show improvement in math, English assessments

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Arizona students did better in math and English assessments in 2018-19 than they did a year earlier, but a majority still fell short of proficiency, according to Arizona Department of Education data released Monday.

Overall, students passed 42% of AzMERIT and MSAA assessments last school year, an increase from 41% in 2017-18.

“That might not sound like a lot to everyone, but if you talk to our accountability folks, they’re very excited about that,” department spokesman Stefan Swiat told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

AzMERIT is the achievement test system in math and English language arts for Arizona’s public district and charter schools. MSAA (Multi-State Alternate Assessment) is a testing system for students with cognitive disabilities.

“By statute, students in three through eight as well as high school have to take a statewide assessment, and for grades three through eight that is the AzMERIT test,” Swiat said.

“This year was the first year it was piloted in which high schools could opt in or opt out of AzMERIT and take a test from the menu of assessments, which would be either ACT or SAT.”

Tests were administered in 22 grade-level and subject categories. The percentage of students who passed went up in 13 of the categories.

“While assessment scores can always be increased, I would like to extend my congratulations to all of our educators and students for their improvement,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a press release.

The passing percentage went down in six categories and stayed level in three.

“It was very few areas in which students’ scores decreased from last year,” Swiat said.

Because ACT and SAT results were included among the assessments for the first time, there is no previous data for comparison purposes.

Data from the AIMS science assessment was not yet available.

For more information, visit the Department of Education’s assessments website.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bob McClay contributed to this report.

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