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Most AZ Students Fail New AZMerit Test


About two thirds of Arizona students who took the new AZMerit test this year failed. However, state school officials say they expected those results because of a new testing format. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports. 

This was the first year 3rd through 11th grade students took AZMerit. The statewide standardized test was designed to better prepare them for college. For the test, students have to type out answers on a computer. AZMerit replaced the pencil and paper AIMS test which was multiple choice. Mardi Read, assistant superintendent of the Prescott Unified School District says AZMerit is a more rigorous test.

“The new Arizona standards really are about critical thinking, problem solving and the skills that we want our students to have. AIMS was a typical regurgitation of facts that were memorized,” said Read.

Read also says since AZMerit was approved last November, school officials and students had little time to prepare. She expects scores to improve next year.

According to the Arizona Department of Education, students in the Prescott Unified School District performed slightly better than the state average. Both the Flagstaff and Kingman Unified School Districts performed below state levels. Passing rates were also lower for minority and low income students, which is a trend seen in previous years. 

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