AzMerit: A Briefing


Matt Brown, Reporter

Most of us remember the days of taking the AIMS test, and the stress of knowing that we needed to pass it in order to graduate. AIMS has now been replaced by AzMerit – which stands for Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching, but students do not need to pass the English or the Math test to graduate, all they need to pass is the Civics test.

AzMerit takes place in grades 3-8 and high schools all across the state where students are tested on their knowledge based upon the curriculum that is/should be taught to the various grade levels. The overall testing doesn’t end up as an individual’s grade, but goes towards the school’s grade in the district. The better we rank, the higher our school’s grade goes. Last year, Sahuaro students did not seem to take the test seriously – we actually scored lower than the state average and TUSD’s average across the board.  Teachers got on board and most really talked up the test.  The school’s ranking is a big deal if your parents own a home in the neighborhood – apparently the value of your home will diminish if the zoned school looks like it’s filled with kids who don’t care about their education.

In order, the tests taken are writing, where students read several texts and write an essay on a given prompt; reading, where students read several articles/stories and answer multiple choice questions, and math, where students solve math multiple problems. For Sahuaro students, this means seniors got to come to school late every testing day, while the test-takers are doing their respective test. Mondays are Freshmen, Tuesdays are Sophomores, Wednesdays are exempt from testing, and Thursdays are Juniors.

People have been more happy about the extra time before school and take the opportunity to sleep for an extra hour or so, or make breakfast when breakfast is uncommon. I can’t say I haven’t been taking advantage of this, doing extra homework I didn’t do the night before or making/packing food for the school day. Many of my friends message me early in the morning when we have to start at 8, but my friends have been texting at 9 or 10, so I can tell they’re doing the same thing. Personally, the before-school time that I get is the perfect way for me to wake up, make coffee, shower, and anything else I find to be a necessity.

People have been completing the tests with a minimum of an hour left and have stated that “it’s really not that hard” and reassuring one another that they’d do well, since it was perceived as easy. Not only do the people not testing get a break, but the people that do test end up finishing early so they get a break before school as well. They don’t shower or make coffee, of course, but they do get to do some homework before school starts.

Overall, there are mixed feelings about the AzMerit, but the overall consensus is that the extra time given before school is what makes the mixed up schedule, grueling tests, and late nights worth the time and effort.