Arizona schools will not be punished for students not taking standardized tests

Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 10:54 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -In-person standardized testing has begun at Arizona public and charter schools, as mandated by the state. However, schools will no longer face repercussions for not testing at least 95% of their student body.

Last week, the Arizona Department of Education was granted a waiver from the federal government.

The AzM2 test, formerly known as the AzMERIT, has caused a lot of confusion this year.

On Tuesday, April 13, Amphitheater Public Schools sent a letter to parents stating “if fewer than 95% of an online school’s students participate in the AzM2 testing, individual students will be prohibited from attending online schools in the future.”

Amphi's letter to parents regarding the AzM2
Amphi's letter to parents regarding the AzM2(KOLD News 13)
Amphi's letter to parents
Amphi's letter to parents(KOLD News 13)

During Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) governing board meeting Tuesday night, officials sent a different message.

“AzMERIT is mandated,” said TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo. “However, we are going to be respectful and supportive of any parent’s right to keep students home, especially if they are remote learners. There are no negative consequences for students that do not take AzMERIT and there is no negative consequences for any school that does not test 95% of its required testing population.”

KOLD News 13 reached out to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) for clarification about standardized testing. The media relations team told us:

“The state has waived the 95% tested rule again this year (for the second year in a row). If a parent does not feel comfortable with their child taking the AzM2 assessment in-person, they can stay home and not be tested. There will not be repercussions for schools that fail to meet the 95% tested mark, as the state is not doing letter grades this year. ADE has never used the standardized testing to influence an individual student’s grades, only to assign a letter grade to the school as a whole. Students are still encouraged to take the in-person test this year, as it gives information that can help determine if instruction needs to be adjusted to help students succeed.”

Both Amphi and TUSD have confirmed there will be no impact to student’s overall mark if they choose not to take the test.

Tucson Unified students who have fallen behind can also enroll in summer school. A free program will be offered to Pre-K through Grade 8 students during the month of June. English, Math and Science classes will be held at each elementary school. Free lunch and transportation will also be provided, even if students don’t normally receive these services during the school year. In June, each high school will offer a credit recovery program. For more information, click HERE.

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