ADE: No remote AzMERIT testing this year

All students scheduled to take the standardized assessment must go on campus.
Red for Ed budget: What is included in Arizona education deal?
Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 15:38:01-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The state has handed down directives on AZMerit testing.

It's requiring students to take the standardized test in-person.

"Allowing students to take the assessment remotely will not be an option for us here in Arizona," said Sunnyside Superintendent Steve Holmes.

He's been waiting for this critical information.

The Arizona Board of Education had told school leaders a few weeks ago that it could be an option.

Now it's not.

But the state is giving schools more time to get students tested. The deadline is now May 14th.

“So that extension window will allow districts time to actually figure out how they're going to get their remote students to come in and actually take the test,” said Holmes.

That deadline impacts students in grades 4th to 8th and 10th.

But not 3rd graders. They must complete the testing by April 30th because of the Move On When Reading requirements.

Holmes said trying to pull that off will be a huge logistical challenge for many schools statewide.

Half of Sunnyside students have chosen to remain remote only.

“The logistical part of that is going to be something that the schools are going to have to chew on and really figure out how they can accommodate those students that are remote, whether it be after school concurrently and offer some assistance from other teachers as well,” he explained.

So what happens if students refuse to take the AzMERIT in-person?

The Vail district tells us students can't be forced to take it and there are no consequences if they don't.

The district says it "highly encourages every child to take the assessment so their school can determine if there are any learning gaps, and provide appropriate mediation."

Holmes said he understands the state's decision, but he doesn't want to just spend the last two months of the year testing students.

“Then they're shortchanged access to the curriculum that we don't want,” said Holmes.

The U.S. Dept. of Education gave states these options to consider:

  • Administer a shortened version of its statewide assessments;
  • Offer remote administration, where feasible; and/or
  • Extending the testing window to the greatest extent practicable. That could include offering multiple testing windows and/or extending the testing window into the summer or even the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. States that elect to extend testing windows should also consider how they can make results available to the public in a timely manner after assessments are administered.