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AzMERIT Begins April 10, 2017
By Website
APRIL 4, 2017 / MODIFIED APR 18, 2017 03:26 PM

A Letter from our Superintendent

Dear Sunnyside Parents & Families,

Thank you for all you do to support your child’s academic success! Sunnyside schools will be administering two important tests during the month of April: Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching (AzMERIT) and Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) Science. The assessments are statewide achievement tests used to determine how well students are performing and are part of many opportunities for your child to demonstrate the learning that has taken place throughout the school year.

AzMERIT will be administered to all students in 3rd through 8th grade and to high school students based on enrollment in a qualifying course. The test goes beyond multiple choice questions to provide a better indicator of what students have learned in reading, writing, and mathematics.Students in 4th and 8th grade will also take the AIMS Science test while high school students will participate in their first or second year of high school. The test contains multiple-choice questions that will assess general understanding of science content and problem-solving skills.

The best way for your child to prepare for AzMERIT and AIMS Science is already happening in the classroom year-round with projects, assignments, and discussions that teach critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. However, it is important to talk with your child about the tests; your conversations can encourage his or her best effort and help minimize any anxiety your child may be feeling.

Please ensure your child arrives to school on time and is well rested during testing days. Your school will be communicating with you about your child’s specific testing dates. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your child’s school.



Steven Holmes




Letters to Parents

What can I Do to Prepare?

  • Ensure your laptop is working

    • Get your laptop repaired by visiting your school's Tech Room or LRC.
  • Bring your Earbuds or Headphones

    • Required for the audio portions of the assessment.

As a school district, we support high standards for all students in our community. Our curriculum is developed from these standards and our teachers and staff are committed to providing quality educational opportunities for every child.

There are four performance levels determined by the AzMERIT Assessment:

  1. Highly Proficient = an advanced understanding of the content in the course or subject area
  2. Proficient = a strong understanding
  3. Partially Proficient = a partial understanding and possible need for additional support
  4. Minimally Proficient = a minimal understanding and probable need for additional support

A team of educators from Arizona who determined the scores that would correlate to each proficiency level, helped create the focus for what students (either at each grade level or at the end of course) should know to be successful in the next grade level or class.

Coming Soon: Family School Report

Every student who took the AzMERIT assessment will receive a Family School Report for English Language Arts (ELA), and math. You and your child may have questions about the proficiency levels he or she achieved. Your child’s teacher is a great resource of information, and you can better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses by reviewing scoring categories on the back of the report you receive.

What Can Parents Do?

The most important thing you can do is to make sure the lines of communication are open between your child, your child’s teacher, and you. Please make sure to contact the front office at your child's school to update any changes to your contact information. Set shared goals for what your child needs to know and check on your child’s progress via PowerSchool Parent Portal. For information on how to obtain your Parent Portal account, contact the PIA at your child's school or parentportal@susd12.org. You can also bring learning opportunities into everyday life such as mixing math into shopping, cooking or asking your child to express their opinions with justification of their views.

Remember, what’s important is that your child is on track to be better prepared for the next grade level and ultimately college and career. As the Sunnyside community, we will continue to prepare our students with high standards. We are confident that we will see the AzMERIT scores rise year after year.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does my child’s test score mean?

  • The new state test measures how well your child is performing in English language arts and math. AzMERIT scores are just one of several measures, including report card grades, classroom performance, and feedback from teachers, that can be used to measure your child’s academic progress.

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

  • Because AzMERIT is a new test, these 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 look lower this year because the test measured 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. It is also important to know that AzMERIT is a very different test than we’ve had before, so it is not possible to compare our old test to AzMERIT. In addition, as a new test, students and teachers still need time to adjust to the new assessment. Given time and our support, we know that our students will rise to the challenge.

How will my child’s score be used?

  • Scores will be used to better tailor instruction to individual student needs and give us a tool to see how students and schools across the state are doing. 

What types of questions were on the test?

  • AzMERIT includes a number of different types of questions, including performance tasks that are multi-step assignments that ask students to apply their knowledge and skills to address real-world problems. In English, students have to apply their research and writing skills, and in math, they solve complex problems and then describe and defend their reasoning. The test also includes traditional multiple choice questions, as well as interactive questions that require students to drag and drop their answers into a box, create equations, and fill in the answer.

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

How can I use these test results to help my child improve?

  • You can use the test results to guide a discussion with your child’s teachers about additional supports or challenges that may be needed in class, as well as ways to support your child at home. Your child’s performance is broken down into categories in each subject. Therefore, you can use also this information to locate activities online that were designed specifically for each category at every grade level.

How was AzMERIT graded?

  • All of the test items are reviewed and approved by Arizona educators. That review includes confirming the answer key for items and any scoring rubrics. Items that require hand scoring are scored by trained scorers using the appropriate scoring rubric.

Where can we get the draft score reports?

  • Examples of the family score reports and the report guide are available at AzMERITportal.org.

When are the test results being released?

  • According to the Arizona Department of Education, initial AzMERIT scores will be sent to districts and charters by early October. Districts and charters will receive copies of each student’s family score report by mid-October.

How will I receive my child’s score report?

  • Districts and charters will receive copies of each student’s family score report by mid-October. Schools and districts will be responsible for distributing the score reports to each student’s family. Schools can decide to send them home in backpacks, schedule parent meetings or mail them home. 

What is Move on When Reading (MOWR)?

  • “Move On When Reading” is a state law that requires a student not be promoted from third grade to fourth grade if the student is reading at a much lower level than is expected of a third grader. A student’s reading level is determined using the “Reading for Information” and “Reading for Literature” scoring categories of this AzMERIT English language arts assessment. You can find more details about your child’s performance on these two areas on the back of the family score report.
  • Since AzMERIT test scores from last spring were not available before the beginning of this school year, no third graders were retained based on the MOWR requirement alone. However, if your child did not meet the requirement on last year’s test, there are a variety of services that may be available to provide the necessary support to help your child catch up. Schools and districts will notify parents at the earliest indication that a student is not reading at grade level, so if your child’s score report shows that they did not pass the Move on When Reading requirement you most likely will have already received a letter or other form of communication from the school. If you are worried about your child’s reading ability, you should speak directly with his or her teacher to learn more.
  • It’s important to note that some students are exempt from the law, including certain English Language Learners, students with individual education plans, students in the process of a special education evaluation, or students diagnosed with a significant reading impairment, including dyslexia.

Support Documentation

Learn more about Arizona's New Statewide Assessment @ azmeritportal.org