AZ standardized tests questioned after alarming results

AZ standardized tests questioned after alarming results

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Education leaders will be meeting on Friday to decide what counts as a passing score on Arizona's new state achievement test, after results from the first test came back with some not so good results.

The AZ Merit test was given for the first time this spring, replacing AIMS.

On the English Language Arts test, almost 60 percent of third graders scored just minimally or partially proficient. Only around 40 percent did well enough to be considered proficient, or highly proficient.

State officials warned parents that the AZ Merit scores would be lower than those of the AIMS tests. Although the new test is meant to be harder, some students said it was too tough to get through.

"The math was a little challenging, it had some things that I didn't know, and then the reading test, that was just straight out confusing," said sixth grader Nicolas Velazquez.

Principal of La Paloma Academy on Golf Links Road, Sean Watins, said they expected results to be lower, but that the new test has been stressful.

"There's no familiarity with the test," Watins said, "the format of even the bubble sheets was different on some of the questions. That really had the kids stressed out."

To some parents, the results have been alarming.

One parent wanted to know what kind of help children are getting at their schools.

If the school board makes changes to the recommendations, it could alter the percentages.

For Principal Watins, it's about what happens next and fixing the issue fast.

"Really just analyzing that and seeing okay, where are we? And then trying to figure out why, if we are this much lower than the other states, why is it? And what could we do to fix that. That's going to be biggest," he said.

Read the unofficial results on pages 5 and 6 here: http://tucsonne.ws/1TyNiGD

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