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Statements from Stand Arizona on AzMERIT

College & Career Readiness | 11/19/2015

Rebecca Gau
Executive Director

For immediate release

Statements from Stand for Children Chair Craig Barrett, Executive Director Rebecca Gau, on AzMERIT test score release

Gau: 'If we are serious about improving student achievement, we need to know where our kids are performing and where they are falling short. This test will do that.'

PHOENIX (NOVEMBER 16) -- Stand for Children Arizona today released the below statements from its chair, Craig Barrett, and executive director, Rebecca Gau, as parents across the state begin receiving their children's AzMERIT test score results. AzMERIT is the new statewide achievement test adopted by the State Board of Education last November to replace the previously administered AIMS test for reading, writing and math. 

"For years, the Arizona business community has asked for higher standards and testing that better measures student preparedness for college or career. The AzMERIT test is a more rigorous assessment that gives us the opportunity to work with students where they need it most and before they graduate, ensuring they are better equipped for those next steps," Barrett said. "A strong education system and better-educated workforce are highly prized within the business community, especially when it comes to business recruitment and retention. While there is still work to do, the AzMERIT tests are ultimately a great step in the right direction."

“The AzMERIT test is a really important step in the right direction. If we are serious about improving student achievement, we need to know where our kids are performing and where they are falling short. This test will do that," Gau said. "At the same time, it's important for parents to know that the AzMERIT test reflects higher expectations, aligned with the needs of employers. It also maps whether a student will be ready for community college or university, without remediation. That hasn't been true of the state test in the past, so we should be prepared for lower scores. Of course, no parent -- including me -- likes to see their child's scores go down. But we really must view these new scores as an opportunity. It reflects the fact that the bar has been raised for Arizona students and we now have a more accurate measure of their achievement levels."

While the AIMS test was multiple choice, AzMERIT measures a wide range of skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking and analysis, and emphasizes application of skills over memorization. Arizona's education community has been working diligently toward improving student achievement, and transitioning to this new assessment is another step on the path toward ensuring they are adequately prepared for college or career upon graduation.

"We have a lot of work to do to make sure all Arizona students are proficient in every grade," Gau continued. "However, by embracing these results and taking action to make education a top priority in this state, we can ensure every student has access to a high quality, globally competitive education that prepares them for any future."

Stand for Children Arizona encourages parents to visit www.doyourhomeworkarizona.org for more information on test content, including what children are expected to know in each grade and recommended activities to strengthen the learning process at home.  

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