Arizona students will take a merit test, AzM2, in the spring

Posted at 12:40 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 19:05:08-05

PHOENIX — The Arizona MERIT test, or AzM2 test, administered to 3rd through 10th graders will happen this spring, according to an executive order signed by Governor Ducey on February 18th.

The test is a snapshot view of a student's academic achievement.

"The state assessment is a snapshot in time. It’s a high stakes, once-a-year test,” says Rhonda Cagle, an educational consultant to Arizona schools.

The test is happening in-person regardless of whether the student attends in-person or online.

A student's performance at a particular school is coupled with the test performance of his or her peers and, together, the results provide the school with a letter grade. The letter grades for this year are being suspended by Governor Duceys executive order.

“By suspending those grades, we are avoiding penalties that schools might incur in the midst of an unprecedented situation. Some of the funding for our schools are dependent on whether you are an A or B school,” said Cagle.

The pause on letter grades for this year will bring some relief to districts as student loss is happening across all grades and schools, according to Cagle.

The Arizona Department of Education tells ABC15 the focus is on giving districts an idea on how to safely bring students to school to take the test.

The testing window has been expanded from four weeks to six. Another recommendation is to allow students to test in gymnasiums to allow for better social distancing.

AzM2 testing will occur at the beginning of April and span thru mid May.