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.