Crane Elementary School District No. 13  |  4250 W. 16th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364  |  P: 928.373.3400  |  F: 928.782.6831
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Understanding AzMERIT for Parents

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Last spring, schools in Arizona transitioned from the annual AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) test to the new AzMERIT (Arizona Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching) test. AzMERIT is the new state exam that measures student academic achievement and performance. Crane students took AzMERIT for the first time in the spring of 2015.  We are expecting the results from the new test in October.

Recently, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) provided the Arizona State Board of Education (ASBE) with preliminary “scale” score ranges for their approval. The ASBE must approve the scale score ranges allowing ADE to make direct and fair comparisons of test results from one exam format to another.   

As parents, it is important for you to know that the change from AIMS to AzMERIT was made so that the state could measure student performance following the adoption of new state standards for language arts and math. AzMERIT tests students’ knowledge and mastery of the new and higher educational standards, and is more academically rigorous than AIMS. In addition, the AzMERIT exam is computer based, a significant change from AIMS which was a paper-based test.  As students and teachers adjust to the new assessment, parents should be prepared that results from the AzMERIT may be lower than results from the AIMS. 

According to the Department of Education website, “Raised expectations mean that there may be a decline in the number of students passing AzMERIT. A lower score on AzMERIT does not necessarily mean that a student is performing below average in school. It also does not mean that teachers are doing a poor job of teaching. It is more likely the result of higher expectations for a passing score. As we saw with AIMS, we expect that the scores on AzMERIT will increase over time.”

Crane Schools have been gearing up and preparing teachers and students as they work toward mastering the new standards. The College and Career Ready standards adopted by the State of Arizona in 2010, were fully implemented in Crane by the 2014 AzMERIT test administration. Therefore, we will consider the 2014 results as our baseline data and predict annual growth on the AzMERIT test to be similar to the annual growth we encountered on the AIMS assessments.

Thanks to the Apple ConnectED grant and the support of our community voting to approve Crane’s 2014 bond technology initiative, Crane students now have a 1:1 learning and testing environment for the 2015-2016 school year. These resources will help to better prepare them for the AzMERIT this spring. We will also continue to use our own benchmark assessments to monitor student mastery of state standards for reading and math. As we learn more about the release of AzMERIT results, we’ll keep you posted through school newsletters, school and district websites and other communication outlets. Our number one priority is our students. If you have any questions, please contact your child's principal.
 
Parent Guide to Your Child’s Test Results

This past spring, your child took the new statewide test in math and English language arts called AzMERIT. The test was designed to be a tool for Crane’s parents, teachers and students to tell us if your child is on track to succeed in his current grade and in the future. You should use your child’s AzMERIT scores along with classroom assignments, homework, grades, and your conversations with his or her teachers to have a complete picture of how your child is doing.

 
We hope you’ll find the following information helpful as you review your score reports. Please contact your child’s teachers to talk through the results and how you can work together to help your child succeed. 

What should you take away from this report?

·       It is important for you to know that this is a transition year for the test. Your child’s scores may look different or lower than you are used to, but it doesn’t mean that your child, our school, or our teachers are doing worse than they have before. Rather, we have raised the bar and increased expectations for what our students need to know and be able to do and for what our teachers are teaching. The results from AzMERIT will set a new baseline for us so we can help each and every one of our students succeed.

·      This AzMERIT score report helps you understand your child’s academic achievement. You can see how your child is performing in comparison to peers in the same grade level, school, and district. In addition to giving you an overall score, the report also breaks down each subject into categories to provide you with a better understanding of how your child performed in different areas of math and English.

Why am I first receiving last year’s score now?

·      Arizona is working hard to get the scoring right on these new tests; therefore, students are receiving last year’s results this fall. We know it is frustrating for Crane parents and teachers, but in subsequent years, the goal is to have scores available by the end of the school year.

Why does my child’s score look different than scores on previous tests?

·      Because AzMERIT is a new test, the first year test scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured. Your child’s score, as well as school and district results, may appear lower this year because the tests measure more complex skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and analysis. A low score does not mean your child did not improve or learned less. It simply means that the expectations have been raised for students and the results provide a more accurate picture of how your child is progressing. These scores cannot be compared to previous test scores since they focus on different skills. 

What resources are available to help my child?

·     Arizona Aims Higher: information about Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards and AzMERIT, along with tips and resources to help your child succeed in school. ArizonaAimsHigher.org.

·    Math Power Book: created by The Rodel Foundation of Arizona, this book was designed for parents and families who want to help their children make sense of math and covers concepts introduced in first grade all the way through sixth grade. RodelAZ.org/home/the-math-power-book

·     Do Your Homework Arizona: a free tool created by Stand for Children Arizona to help parents better understand homework related to Arizona’s new academic standards in math and English in kindergarten through eighth grade. DoYourHomeworkArizona.org

How will my child’s score be used?

·      Scores will be used to better tailor instruction to individual student needs and give us a tool to see how students and schools across the state are doing. 

What if my child did well on his or her report card last year, but not as well on this test?

·      The new tests are only one of several measures that are used to determine your child’s academic performance. Report card grades include multiple sources of information – participation, work habits, group projects, and homework – all of which are important in determining a child’s academic achievement. These sources are not reflected on the test, so there may be some differences. To further explore your child’s academic achievement, talk with his or her teacher. 

How can I use these test results to help my child improve?

·      You can use the test results to guide a discussion with your child’s teachers about additional supports or challenges that may be needed in class, as well as ways to support your child at home. Your child’s performance is broken down into categories in each subject. Therefore, you can use also this information to locate activities online that were designed specifically for each category at every grade level.

How long will it be before I can see progress in my child’s score?

·      As teachers continue focusing on the complex content outlined in the new standards and students gain more practice with the skills, scores are expected to improve over time.  

What types of questions were asked?

  • AzMERIT includes a number of different types of questions, including performance tasks that are multi-step assignments that ask students to apply their knowledge and skills to address real-world problems. In English, students have to apply their research and writing skills, and in math, they solve complex problems and then describe and defend their reasoning. The test also includes traditional multiple choice questions, as well as interactive questions that require students to drag and drop their answers into a box, create equations, and fill in the answer. 

How are the new tests different?

  • They focus on measuring real-world skills. For example, students were asked to read complex passages, analyze them, and write thoughtful responses, which is different from previous tests. This was also the first time a statewide test included a writing section at every grade level.

·      AzMERIT does not lend itself to teaching to the test. By moving away from simple fill in the bubble tests, the temptation to teach to the test was eliminated. The new tests emphasize applying skills over memorization. Strong teaching coupled with engaged learning throughout the year is the best way to prepare for this test. Since the standards ensure students are learning what they need to know, and the new tests are aligned to the standards, schools can now focus on what is most important, instead of test prep.

 
Spanish Version 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT AZMERIT

What does my child’s test score mean?

The new state test measures how well your child is performing in English language arts and math. AzMERIT scores are just one of several measures, including report card grades, classroom performance, and feedback from teachers, that can be used to measure your child’s academic progress.

Why does my child’s score look different than scores on previous tests?

·       Because AzMERIT is a new test, these first year test scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured. Your child’s score, as well as school and district results, may look lower this year because the test measured more complex skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and analysis. A low score does not mean your child did not improve or learned less. It simply means that the expectations have been raised for students. It is also important to know that AzMERIT is a very different test than we’ve had before, so it is not possible to compare our old test to AzMERIT. In addition, as a new test, students and teachers still need time to adjust to the new assessment. Given time and our support, we know that our students will rise to the challenge.

How will my child’s score be used?

·        Scores will be used to better tailor instruction to individual student needs and give us a tool to see how students and schools across the state are doing. 

 

What types of questions were on the test?

AzMERIT includes a number of different types of questions, including performance tasks that are multi-step assignments that ask students to apply their knowledge and skills to address real-world problems. In English, students have to apply their research and writing skills, and in math, they solve complex problems and then describe and defend their reasoning. The test also includes traditional multiple choice questions, as well as interactive questions that require students to drag and drop their answers into a box, create equations, and fill in the answer. 

What if my child did well on his or her report card last year, but not as well on this test?

 
Report card grades include multiple sources of information, including participation, work habits, group projects, and homework, all of which are important in determining a child’s academic achievement. These sources are not reflected on the test, so there may be some differences. To further explore your child’s academic achievement, talk with his or her teachers.

How can I use these test results to help my child improve?

·        You can use the test results to guide a discussion with your child’s teachers about additional supports or challenges that may be needed in class, as well as ways to support your child at home. Your child’s performance is broken down into categories in each subject. Therefore, you can use also this information to locate activities online that were designed specifically for each category at every grade level.

How was AzMERIT graded?

·        Groups of Arizona teachers hand graded the essay questions from AzMERIT and provided recommendations for scoring the entire test. The test vendor graded the multiple choice and short answer questions, but provided all the results to the Arizona Department of Education to calculate. The Arizona State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the final scoring levels.

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?

·       According to the Arizona Department of Education, initial AzMERIT scores will be sent to districts and charters by early October. Districts and charters will receive copies of each student’s family score report by mid-October. 

How will I receive my child’s score report?

·       Districts and charters will receive copies of each student’s family score report by mid-October. Schools and districts will be responsible for distributing the score reports to each student’s family. Schools can decide to send them home in backpacks, schedule parent meetings or mail them home. 

What is Move on When Reading (MOWR)?

·       “Move On When Reading” is a state law that requires a student 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 this AzMERIT English language arts assessment. You can find more details about your child’s performance on these two areas on the back of the family score report. 

·        Since AzMERIT test scores from last spring were not available before the beginning of this school year, no third graders were retained based on the MOWR requirement alone. However, 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. Schools and districts will notify parents at the earliest indication that a student is not reading at grade level, so if your child’s score report shows that they 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.

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.

 
Spanish Version 
What You Need To Know
What is AzMERIT

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Arizona State Standards

Please take the time to look at the new state standards and then comment on them. We would like to see Crane School’s parent, teachers and staffs voices heard.

Here is the Portal:   https://k12standards.az.gov/

Select the "Read the Standards" link to read over the standards (https://k12standards.az.gov/read-standards .

Centennial Middle School
2650 West 20th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-3300 Phone | (928)376-7742 Fax
H.L. Suverkrup Elementary School
1590 South Avenue C, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-3500 Phone | (928) 782-3132 Fax
Ronald Reagan Elementary School
3200 West 16th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-3700 Phone | (928) 783-2635 Fax
Crane Middle School
4450 West 32nd Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-3200 Phone | (928) 344-6821 Fax
Mesquite Elementary School
4451 West 28th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-4100 Phone | (928) 373-4199 Fax
Salida del Sol Elementary School
910 South Avenue C, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-5600 Phone | (928) 373-5699 Fax
Gary A. Knox Elementary School
2926 South 21st Drive, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-5500 Phone | (928) 373-5599 Fax
Pueblo Elementary School
2803 West 20th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-3600 Phone | (928) 373-3699 Fax
Valley Horizon Elementary School
4501 West 20th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-4000 Phone | (928) 329-0504 Fax
Gowan Science Academy
1590 South Avenue C, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 539-1200 Phone | (928) 539-1299 Fax
Rancho Viejo Elementary School
1020 South Avenue C, Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-3800 Phone | (928) 373-3899 Fax
    
© 2017. Crane Elementary School District No. 13
Crane Elementary School District No. 13 | 4250 W. 16th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364 | P: 928.373.3400 | F: 928.782.6831
Crane Elementary School District No. 13
4250 W. 16th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364
P: 928.373.3400
F: 928.782.6831