Q: “I’m very concerned about my son’s AzMERIT test scores because last year he didn’t do very well. When should I expect to see the results and how concerned should I be about his scores this year?”

Tina, Chandler

A: Individual AzMERIT student score reports will be distributed to districts and charter schools this summer, after which they will be disseminated to parents. Many are planning to send them home with students at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year this fall. Check with your school to find out when your son’s will arrive since each district will set the timing for providing score reports to parents.

When you do receive the results, they will be provided in the same format as last year. You’ll be able to see how your child performed individually as well as compared to peers at their school and around the state. In addition to giving an overall score, the reports also break down each subject into categories to provide you with a better understanding of how your child did in math and English. Since this is the second year of AzMERIT testing, the report will also feature your child’s progress over time.

When examining this year’s AzMERIT scores, the first thing that you should keep in mind is that this is only the second year of the exam. It’s quite different from AIMS and requires much more from students. It’s still new, especially for those who may have taken the paper version the first year and the computer-based test this year.

There are four performance levels that describe the abilities of students who take the AzMERIT. Students who score in the “Proficient” or “Highly Proficient” range are likely to be ready for the next grade or course. Students who score in the “Partially Proficient” or “Minimally Proficient” range are likely to need support to be ready for the next grade or course, but that’s something that you should discuss with your child’s teacher.

While these test reports can provide insights into a student’s progress, AzMERIT scores don’t paint a complete picture. Throughout the school year, there are many ways teachers assess how students are doing in their classroom, including classwork, homework, quizzes, projects, and teacher and counselor observations about your child’s growth. AzMERIT score reports are a checkpoint for parents to see how their child did in English and math. The results from AzMERIT should be used along with all of this information to ensure your child is on track to succeed.

You can consider AzMERIT performance as part of the overall view of your son’s readiness to be successful in the next grade and in college and career; and also to guide a discussion with their teachers about where your son may need additional help or where he is ready to learn even more. Don’t forget to ask about ways to help your child at home during your discussions with your child’s teachers.

Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to build a movement of Arizonans in support of world-class education for every child. For more information, visit ExpectMoreArizona.org.

 

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