en español

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AzMERIT?
Arizona's Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching (AzMERIT) is an annual statewide test that measures how students are performing in English language arts and math. Assessments can be effective tools to support your child's learning. They can tell you and your child's teacher if your child is on track to succeed or if he/she needs to spend additional time learning a topic.

Who takes AzMERIT?
Students in 3rd through 8th grade will take AzMERIT in English language arts and math at their grade level. In high school, students will take AzMERIT end-of-course tests in English language arts and math. The test will be administered to students enrolled in English classes in 9th through 11th grade, and Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.

Why are students being tested on computers?
The State Department of Education allows school districts to test online or on paper, but eventually wants all schools to test online. Tucson Unified moved to online testing after a pilot program at several schools. Testing online allows school's more flexibility. The state's window for schools that choose to test on computers is March 27-May 4. The window for paper tests is more narrow, March 27-April 7. The online window allows for up to two more weeks of instruction. It's important to note that the Arizona Department of Education has found students do no better or worse depending how the test is given.

What if my child is absent during the testing?
Each school will have makeup days. Please avoid making doctor, dental or other such appointments on testing days and do not pull your children out of class unless it is an emergency. Once a test is started, the child must finish or risk having to leave sections blank.

How is AzMERIT graded?
All of the test items are reviewed and approved by Arizona educators. That review includes confirming the answer key for items and any scoring rubrics. Items that require hand scoring are scored by trained scorers using the appropriate scoring rubric.

Where can we get the draft score reports?
Examples of the family score reports and the report guide are available at AzMERITportal.org.

When are the test results being released?
School districts will receive copies of each student's family score report in July, and we plan for the individual reports to be ready for parents to pick up before the start of the school year.

What is Move on When Reading (MOWR)?
"Move On When Reading" is a state law that says a student may not be promoted from third grade to fourth grade if the student is reading at a much lower level than is expected of a third grader. A student's reading level is determined using the "Reading for Information" and "Reading for Literature" scoring categories of the AzMERIT English language arts assessment. More details about a student's performance on these two areas can be found on the back of the family score report.

Schools and districts will notify parents at the earliest indication that a student is not reading at grade level. Therefore, if your child's score report shows that he or she did not pass the Move on When Reading requirement, you most likely will have already received a letter or other form of communication from the school. If you are worried about your child's reading ability, you should speak directly with his or her teacher to learn more.

Most schools and districts included a message for parents on end-of-year report cards of third grade students explaining that promotion to fourth grade is dependent upon the student's final AzMERIT reading scores. Parents with students identified as not meeting the MOWR requirement will be notified this summer, after districts and schools review their students' raw scores. 

If your child did not meet the requirement on last year's test, there are a variety of services that may be available to provide the necessary support to help your child catch up.

It's important to note that some students are exempt from the law, including certain English Language Learners, students with individual education plans, students in the process of a special education evaluation, or students diagnosed with a significant reading impairment, including dyslexia.

How do assessments help students succeed?
AzMERIT is like an annual checkup—an important opportunity to find out how your child is doing. Just as doctors check height and weight, teachers use the test to check how your child is performing in English and math. The information from these tests will provide the constant, objective measure you can track over the course of your child's education.

What does AzMERIT mean for students? 
AzMERIT goes beyond multiple choice questions to provide a better indicator of what students have learned during the school year. Students will have a chance to show their critical-thinking skills by applying concepts and showing deeper understanding of a topic.

What is the test like?

  • Writing: The writing portion will require students to read a few passages and then write about them. This type of task requires students to think deeper about topics and use evidence to support their thinking. It will take an average of 45-90 minutes to complete the writing portion.
  • Reading: The reading portion will be administered in two parts over the course of one to two days. This will ensure students have ample time to read and answer questions. The test also contain editing tasks to measure student understanding of fundamental skills like spelling and grammar. Each part of the test will take students an average of 45-75 minutes to complete.
  • Math: The math portion will be administered in two parts over the course of one to two days. This will ensure students have ample time to read and answer questions. The test will ask questions that check a student's conceptual understanding of math, as well as their procedural skills. Each part of the test will take students an average of 50-85 minutes to complete.
  • AIMS Science: the AIMS Science test will be administered to students in 4th and 8th grade, and in 9th or 10th grade at the end of a biology course. It is a multiple choice test that is not timed and ranges from 54-65 questions depending on the grade level of the student.

Will my high school student need to pass AzMERIT to graduate? 
Students are NOT required to pass the assessment for graduation. Beginning with the class of 2017, all students will need to pass a civics test for graduation.

What are the benefits of AzMERIT? 
AzMERIT test results provide students with valuable information about how they are doing and if they are prepared for the next grade and eventually for college and career. Students should use the test as an opportunity to check on their progress without the anxiety of needing to pass to graduate.

What will scores look like? 
Scores on the AzMERIT parent score reports will show performance levels in English language arts and math. There are four performance levels that describe the general skills and abilities for 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. Each test has three or more scoring categories that describe the content in different parts of the test, which will be shown on the back of the family score report. There is a short paragraph that will describe the student's understanding of the content in this scoring category based on his or her ability level.

What if my child is not a good test taker? 
Your child's school and teacher can provide suggestions for helping your child successfully know and demonstrate his or her understanding of the state standards, which is what the AzMERIT test is based on. 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. The results from AzMERIT should be used along with all of this information to ensure your child is on track to succeed.

How can I help prepare my child for the AzMERIT test?
At the beginning of the school year or semester, set shared goals with your child's teacher for what your child needs to know and be able to do during this school year. Check in regularly on your child's progress to see where your child might need help.

Talk with your child about the test—your conversations can help minimize any fear or anxiety your child may feel when taking the test this spring. You can also take a practice AzMERIT test at home to help your child prepare. There is no need to create a login, just simply sign in as a guest at azmeritportal.org.

In addition, please see these tips for helping your child to be ready for test day.