AzMERIT Results: Less Than Half Of Arizona Students Got Passing Scores

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Monday, November 30, 2015 - 4:44pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 4:34pm
(Photo by Sky Schaudt - KJZZ)
An AzMERIT asessment report.

The Arizona Department of Education released official AzMERIT test scores Monday. These results show less than 50 percent of students in the state got a passing score. 

AzMERIT replaced AIMS as the state’s new standardized test last spring. Education experts warn not to compare the two exams because they are so different. Arizona Department of Education spokesman Charles Tack said this gives students a new baseline.

"A new way to look at how our students are preforming in terms of being college and career ready," said Tack. "That's something that with AIMS we really weren't getting that same perspective." 

SEARCH: Find Out AzMERIT Results By School, District

AzMERIT was instituted as part of Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards adopted by the state board of education in 2010. A study released by the Arizona Board of Regents earlier this year, showed 46.5 percent of Arizona high school students were eligible for admission to the state's public universities. That figure is similar to the last time the study was done in 2009.

Melissa Lempke is with Expect More Arizona, an education advocacy organization. She said these AzMERIT test results are a better comparison for where Arizona students rank nationally.

“AIMS was painting much too rosy of a picture of how students were actually preforming," Lempke said. "Both the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores and the AZMERIT scores paint much more of a realistic picture.”

The NAEP test she’s referring to is an exam administered by the National Center for Education Statistics every other year to about 500,000 students in all 50 states. The math and reading tests are given to a representative sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students. Arizona students had proficiency rates between 30 percent and 40 percent, which is aligns closely with AzMERIT scores.