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New Test Provides Opportunity to Measure What Matters

Phoenix – November 3, 2014 – Today the Arizona State Board of Education selected AzMERIT—Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching as Arizona’s new statewide standardized test to be given in Spring 2015. The Arizona Education Association and our members believe this new test aligned to the state standards will provide a good assessment of our students’ academic progress; however, successful implementation of the new test will depend on adequate funding, time, and support, and effectively using the test to provide educators with meaningful information to adjust instruction rather than to punish students and teachers.

“Teachers use tests as a valuable tool to assess whether students are on track to succeed,” says AEA President Andrew F. Morrill. “Arizona must stop its testing obsession and get back to supporting real instruction and keeping good teachers in the classroom.”

As the State Board moves forward in implementing the new test and reviewing accountability measures tied to it, Arizona will be given an opportunity to change the stakes and ensure our state is measuring not just a single test score, but the outcomes we want, such as foreign language competence, AP and honors classes, community service, performance in the arts, CTE certification, and more.

“We want our students to have a well-rounded education that provides them the skills and knowledge they need to compete in a global economy,” says Morrill. “So, let’s measure the things we believe provide a high quality education to our children and stop reducing them to a single test score.”

According to experts, the new implementation will result in lower test scores the first year. AEA believes students and teachers will need time to adjust to the new assessment and that a baseline must be set in order to provide meaningful comparisons. AEA will advocate to hold students and teachers harmless for the first two years of the test and to ensure more teachers are included in the decision-making process to ensure fair accountability measures are put in place.

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