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Arizona Schools Are Now Able to Opt Out Of AzMERIT Tests

For some high schools around our state, the 2017/2018 school year marked the end of their AzMERIT testing, as a result of a new policy from the Arizona Department of Education.

In the new policy, high schools are given the option to opt out of the classic statewide assessment in favor of administering their choice of another state-approved test: ACT, SAT, and advanced placement testing for college credit in specific subjects.

“This is great news for our high school students and their teachers because it will significantly reduce the amount of time that they will have to devote to standardized testing,” said Grant Goodrich, headmaster at Anthem Preparatory Academy, in a letter to parents. Goodrich added that the opportunity allows for the use of an assessment “students can use for college admissions.”

At Anthem Prep, Goodrich’s 11th grade students will be replacing the AzMERIT test with the SAT. At another charter school, Jefferson Preparatory, they will be replacing the test with the ACT for 10th and 11th graders.

 The ACT test is a nationally normed test that we feel will better assess our students strengths and give them the added benefit of helping prepare them for college entrance applications,” said Principal Tawnya Mecham.

In the public school arena, many districts are opting to keep the AzMERIT, mainly for reasons of keeping data uniform and tracking trends from previous years.

The key reasons for the change are related to the criticism the AzMERIT test received in previous years: it wasn’t required for graduation, and prep for it took up more classroom time than was seen to be appropriate.