AZMERIT- NEW COMMON CORE TEST ADOPTED TO REPLACE PARCC
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test was thrown out and a new assessment was adopted from the testing company American Institutes for Research (AIR) on November 3, 2014 called Arizona's Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching (AzMERIT). Our state exited PARCC because there was a "conflict of interest" for testing companies that were bidding on the new assessment for Arizona. So former Governor Jan Brewer exited PARCC on May 29, 2014 so the publishing company Pearson could bid on the new assessment that would be administered in our state. Since Pearson administered the PARCC Field test in our state in the Spring of 2014, Governor Brewer had to exit PARCC so there was no "conflict of interest" in the bidding process. All test results from the 2014 PARCC field test are owned by PARCC and our Arizona Deparment of Education (ADE) does not have access to the testing data. What a big waste of money!
AzMERIT from adoption to implementation was a mere 21 weeks! (AzMERIT was adopted on November 3, 2014 and implemented starting on March 30, 2015). The testing window for the on-line AzMERIT test started in Arizona on March 30, 2015. The paper version started on April 13, 2015 for most schools. There was no field test for AzMERIT nor were validity tests conducted to determine the impact on Arizona students taking this assessment. We cannot even call this test "uniquely Arizona" because Arizona, Tennessee and Florida purchased the rights to Utah's Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) test in December 2014 for $10 million dollars. This gave Arizona access to all of UT's SAGE test modules including sample test questions. If you compare the sample test questions for UT's SAGE test and Florida's Standards Assessment (FAS) test they are exactly the same.
AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH (AIR) ADMINSTERS AZMERIT ASSESSMENT
AIR, who administers AzMERIT, is a behavioral research company not an academic company. Behavioral research is usually administered to people who have severe cognitive or communication disabilities to determine why they demonstrate inappropriate behaviors. Why is a behavior-based research organization testing children who are attending normal schools? This question should be asked by every parent.
PARENTS AND STUDENTS THREATENED IF THEY "OPT OUT"
Former Attorney General Tom Horne
Attorney General Mark Brnovich
Parents and students are continually threatened if they try to "opt out" of the AzMERIT assessment. An Attorney General "opinion letter" was written by former Attorney General (AG) Tom Horne, on December 10, 2014 stating parents do not have the right to opt out of the statewide assessment, since Arizona Revised State statute (ARS), ARS 15-102, does not specifically state parents can do so. This is an "opinion letter" only and NOT law so this "opinion letter" does not supercede our "natural rights" as parents to direct the upbringing and education of our children. Arizona Revised Statute (ARS 15-741) states that a local school district or governing school body has to "offer the test" but students do not have to "take the test. Superintendent Diane Douglas requested the new Attorney General, Mark Brnovich, to review this previous "opinion letter" from Tom Horne over the statewide assessment and also include in his review ARS Title 1-601 and Title 1-602 which talks about the natural rights of parents, given to us from our creator, to "direct the education and upbringing of our children." Attorney General Brnovich's opinion, released in October 2015, not only stated parents do not have the right to "opt out" our children from the statewide assessment, but we could not "opt out" of other learning activities at the school! So basically, our rights as parents, end at the school house door! We have the right to choose what school our children attend but that's basically it! This is ludicrious!
The Common Core assessment, AzMERIT, violates our 4th and 14th amendment rights, the "right to privacy" from data mining and the "right to direct the upbringing and education of our children" as parents and the Supreme Court agrees our "parental rights" are supreme! As previously stated, ARS 1-601 and 1-602 also outline our "parental bill of rights" which come from our creator. In (ARS 1-601) it states: "The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right. This state, any political subdivision of this state, or any other governmental entity shall not infringe on these rights without demonstrating that the compelling governmental interest as applied to the child involved is of the highest order, is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means. And in (ARS 1-602), it states: "All parental rights are reserved to a parent of a minor child without obstruction or interference from this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution."
Parents and students are continually threatened with these AG "opinion letters" when they try to "opt out" their children from the AzMERIT assessment. They are being told they will be marked "unexcused;" they can not participate in an athletic program or musical performance if they miss too many days; they are being told they will be marked poorly on their grade point average (GPA); or the most egregious, that they will be expelled from school for missing too many days due to "opting out." Arizona Department of Education (ADE) employee Irene Hunting, who runs the AzMERIT department, is telling parents they have "limited rights" and they have to take the AzMERIT exam. This is deplorable! Parents are also being told their school would loose Title 1 funding if too many students "opt out." No school across the country has lost federal funding, including Title 1 funding, for having a high "opt out" rate on their statewide assessment. Pass this Fairtest flier to your local school- Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School which details the facts about "opting out" from the recently passed "Every Student Succeeds Act," (ESSA) and why parents do not need to fear!
THERE IS NO A-F ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM FOR THE 2014-2015 AND 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEARS!
The A-F Accountabilty System was disbanded in Arizona due to SB1289. No letter grades will be assigned to teachers nor the schools for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. AzMERIT test scores cannot be included as part of a students GPA as well due to SB1289! Despite the accountability system being disbanded, teachers and local schools were threatening parents that their students could not "opt out" of AzMERIT. Schools are afraid of losing their Title 1 funding that is tied to a federal requirement stating that "Schools needs a 95% participation rate in the statewide assessment" to receive Title 1 funding. Teachers and school administrators are also fearful on how student test data will be reported by the ADE. Again, no school across the country has lost Title 1 Funding due to high "opt out" rates! Share this Fairtest flier with your local school- Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School which details the facts about "opting out" from the recently passed "Every Student Succeeds Act," (ESSA) and why parents do not need to fear!
NEW A-F ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM FOR THE 2016-2017 AND 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEARS!
A new A-F Accountability System, achievement profile and school improvement plans has been established with bill SB1430 in the 2016 legislative session. This new accountability System will start being implemented in the 2016-2017 school year. New letter grades, however, will not be assigned to schools until 2017.
AZMERIT SCORES ARE LOW AS EXPECTED!
There was expected to be a 50% drop in student test scores on the AzMERIT test as compared to the AIMS test based on a AzMERIT webinar presentation that was given by the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) on April 14, 2015.
The AzMERIT scores, released by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), for 2015 showed only a 27-42% passing rate for ELA and 30-42% passing rate for Mathematics. In 2016, these numbers were relatively flat and showed a 29-41% passing rate for ELA and 30-46% passing rate for Mathematics. No surprise that there is not a stark improvement in AzMERIT scores for an assessment that has never been validated to prove it assesses our Arizona College and Career Ready Standards nor does it match what is being taught in the classroom. For more details on AzMERIT test scores visit the Arizona Department of Education AzMERIT webpage.
For AzMERIT updates visit the Assessment webpage on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) website.
If you would like to Become a member of the "Arizonans Against Common Core" team and help us educate Arizona residents about Common Core, please e-mail Our website coordinator at AZSchoolChoice at cox.net