Arizona to mull new averages after students bomb state standards test
Aug 11, 2015, 6:15 AM
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Education will reconsider what it deems an acceptable score after students performed poorly on a new state standards test.
Less than half of Arizona students were considered proficient in two key subjects — English language arts and math — by the Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching test. Dubbed AzMERIT for short, it took the place of the beleaguered AIMS test dropped by lawmakers in 2014.
While parents may be eager to point out their child met the AIMS standards before falling below AzMERIT’s, Charles Tack with the Department of Education said the new test is a whole new beast compared to its predecessor.
“The (AzMERIT) test itself and the standards that it is testing are more rigorous than the previous AIMS test,” he said.
“The AIMS test was really measuring a minimum of what students needed at a particular level and it was perhaps inflating the scores. Now we’re going to have a more realistic set of expectations.”
While students fared poorly in AzMERIT’s debut, Tack said the department was more concerned with how students handled it compared to the results.
“Whenever you administer a new test, you have to go through this process of setting these scores,” he said.
The state school board will meet Friday to discuss the results and possibly propose new proficiency levels more in tune with Arizona students. Tack said parents are welcome to attend the 9 a.m. meeting and voice their concerns.
The board may have used the debut as a sort of litmus test, but Tack said members are well aware of the long road ahead.
“We know we have a lot of work to do,” he said.