AzMERIT Parent Letter
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Posted Monday, March 27, 2017

We are approaching the time of year again for statewide standardized testing. In addition to being required by state law, these tests can be good measures of learning that is occurring throughout our state, district, and school, as well as in each classroom and with each student.

As you likely know, Arizona-produced AzMERIT tests have replaced most of the previous AIMS tests. These tests assess students’ mastery of Arizona’s challenging Career and College Readiness Standards. Additional information, including Sample Tests, can be found at

Testing will be in the same format as last year:

  • AzMERIT tests are taken online, in testing sessions of about 1-2 hours each. Writing can take longer.
  • All G3 and G4 students will take a writing test, a reading test, and a math test. (In addition, 4th graders will continue to take the AIMS Science test in a paper format.)
  • The format of AzMERIT tests is more challenging, going well beyond a traditional multiple choice format. Tests feature short answer, drop and drag, and requirements to explain thinking.
  • With the challenging new format, and with more rigorous standards, scaled scores across the state on AzMERIT tests released these past two years have not been comparable to previous AIMS tests.

As a part of our rigorous daily learning, students and teachers have been preparing all year to do their best on these tests. We want to make sure we have optimal conditions for students on test days. Here at school, we will minimize distractions and optimize your child’s test schedule. We will also provide healthy snacks and a quiet environment for test takers. Teachers will plan for reduced homework prior to test days.


  • Please make sure your child is here at school on scheduled test days. We can administer make-up tests in case of illness, but this is difficult and disruptive. Please do not schedule vacations or appointments on test days.  Students who arrive to school late on testing dates will not be allowed into class until testing has finished and they will make-up their test at a later time.
  • Please be sure your child gets a good night’s sleep before each test day. This can have a major positive impact on their ability to “show what they know.”

Please be sure that your child eats a healthy breakfast, and has a positive, calm morning on test days.

In November 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted a new statewide achievement test, AzMERIT, for Arizona students. This page will be used to help communicate the purpose of the new test and the local and state results to students, staff, and parents of Prescott Unified School District.

AzMerit Assessment (Spring 2015)

  • This test was based solely on the Arizona College and Career Readiness standards.
  • Students receive scores in Math based on the course they are enrolled in.
  • Students receive one English Language Arts (ELA) score based on the course they are enrolled in.
  • Tests are given at the end of the course for Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, English 1, English 2, and English 3.
  • This test is NOT required to pass for graduation.
  • This test was designed to be a computer-based test but given in written form (PHS).
  • Students were permitted to use calculators on portions of the math test.

AIMs (Spring 2014 and prior)

  • This test was based primarily on the old Arizona standards.
  • Students receive scores in Math based on grade level.
  • Students receive two separate scores for reading and writing based on their grade level.
  • Test was given initially to sophomores, and then to students who did not pass or wanted to improve their scores.
  • AIMs was required for graduation until the class of 2015.
  • This test was designed to be a paper-based test.
  • Students were not permitted to use calculators.

Frequently Asked Questions


What new information will AzMERIT provide?

AzMERIT will provide students, parents, and educators with information about areas of academic strength and weakness and will measure student achievement toward meeting the standards. The new exams also will also provide meaningful multistate comparisons that will show how Arizona students compare to their peers around the country.


When was this test selected?

In November 2014, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted a new statewide achievement test, AzMERIT, for Arizona students.


When was this test administered?

PUSD students first took the AzMerit assessment in spring 2015.  They will test again in spring of 2016.


How is AzMERIT different from the AIMS test?

Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) tested the old Arizona standards. Spring 2014 was the last time AIMS was administered for reading, writing, and mathematics. AzMERIT, based on the new standards, will tell teachers, students, and parents if students are on track to be college and career ready upon graduation from high school.


Why does Arizona need this new test?

In 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted new standards in English language arts and mathematics for all students in Arizona. These academic standards outline what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. With the adoption and implementation of new standards, a new test was necessary.


What does the AzMERIT Family Report Guide tell me?

The score shows how well your child understands the subject matter and grade level content. A student who scores Proficient or Highly Proficient on AzMERIT is likely to be ready for the next grade level of that subject matter.


Why does the data look different on my student’s report than the publicly released data?

As Arizona school districts update their data and submit their corrections, the data at the state and district level will change slightly. This can be based on demographic, enrollment, income, and school level factors.  Your child’s specific test scores will not be impacted by these changes.


We are on the right track.

Arizona is asking more from our students, so they can achieve their full potential. The AzMERIT test goes beyond the previous bubble test by measuring a wide range of real-world skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, and analysis. For high school students, this exam is NOT required for graduation. It is, however, the most accurate tool available to measure whether your child is mastering the skills we expect of our young people.


Why does my child’s score look different than scores on previous tests?

Because AzMERIT is a new test, the 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 appear lower this year because the tests measure 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, and the results provide a more accurate picture of how your child is progressing. These scores cannot be compared to previous Arizona test scores since they focus on different skills.


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 necessarily reflected on the test, so there may be some differences. To further explore your child’s academic achievement, talk with his or her teachers.