AzMERIT now holds higher importance with changes


Kalista Rankins

This year the AzMERIT will be taken the second day back from spring break.

In Nov. 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education elected to discard the Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards (AIMS) test and adopt a new assessment known as the AzMERIT.

The Arizona Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching, or AzMERIT, has existed for less than two years but has been the subject of much controversy.

Most of this controversy has been over a couple major differences between the AIMS and the AzMERIT. One of the biggest discrepancies is that high school students no longer need to pass the assessment to graduate.

Vice Principal Joe Greene said, “ It’s hard to get kids interested and take it serious because it is not for graduation and it’s just a tough test in general.” That necessity to pass the test is what motivated many students to take the test seriously and now some students have chosen to opt-out of taking the AzMERIT altogether because it no longer has a direct reflection on their grade.

Principal Dan Serrano is aware of this problem and expressed the importance of the test, “For the first time AzMERIT scores are going to be used to give our school its letter grade. The last couple of years it really hasn’t done anything, but now it is very critical that we do well on the test.”

Serrano hopes that the school’s reputation on the line will be enough to motivate more students will commit to taking the test seriously.

Another significant complaint that was highlighted this year is the testing dates that were selected for Perry high school to administer the test. This year’s students will be taking the reading and writing sections of the AzMERIT within the first week back from spring break.

Positioning the test so close to break presents problems regarding student readiness.

Junior Chris Smith is among many students who wishes he had a little more time after break,“ Some of the questions are content specific and definitely with two weeks gone you are out of the flow.” Students are prone to losing information and academic effort after a big break.

However, while it is not ideal timing, the current test dates are specifically chosen for a reason.

Counselor Scott Uyeshiro doubles as the testing coordinator for Perry and explained the process for choosing testing dates, “The date of the test came from the state where they choose a window that we can test and then the district picks a testing schedule for our schools.” Each individual school has no say in the matter of picking a date.

As far as why the current testing period is so close to break is because that is when the AzMERIT best fits into the schedule for fourth quarter.

“Having the window at a certain time and the district choosing the dates is really crucial to how everything lays out because second semester is when everything happens: registration for next year, AzMERIT, AIMS science, the ACT, and AP tests.”

When the district decided on testing dates they kept in mind that some students have other tests that require attention and decided it would be best to allow ample room for those students.