AzMERIT assessment

AzM2 Assessment

AzM2 – the second version of AzMERIT – is like an annual checkup. It’s an important opportunity to find out how your child is doing in school. Similar to a doctor checking height and weight each year, teachers and state leaders use the test to check how students are doing in reading, writing and math.

Although testing is never fun, assessments can be effective tools to support your child’s learning. It might seem counterintuitive or even unfair to spend time on a statewide assessment when many students have spent much of the school year learning – or struggling – with distance learning. But at this point in the pandemic, it makes complete sense. In fact, it’s more important than ever.

Parents, educators, principals and policymakers need more information about how students are doing and being served, not less. We know anecdotally that students have struggled so far this school year, and some more than others. Statewide results from AzM2 testing will give education leaders a clearer picture of where students stand academically and how best to move forward with interventions and additional support in the coming school year. It will ensure educators don’t assume what has transpired over the past year, but that they know whether learning loss has occurred, and if so, how much.

School districts are putting plans in place to administer the tests safely. In addition, the overall testing window has been extended, the assessment has been shortened, and other measures have been taken to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Important Things Parents Need to Know

Who takes the tests?
From 3rd to 8th grade, Arizona students in public districts and charter schools take the AzM2 test for reading, writing and math each year. For high school students, the grade level AzM2 assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics are given to 10th graders (cohort 2023 in the 2020-2021 school year).

Why is the statewide assessment being administered this year?
It might seem counterintuitive or even unfair to spend time on a statewide assessment when many students have spent much of the school year learning – or struggling – with distance learning. But at this point in the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get accurate learning data.

Parents, educators, principals and policymakers need more information about how students are doing and being served, not less. We know anecdotally that students have struggled so far this school year, and some more than others. Statewide results from AzM2 testing will give leaders, educators and policymakers a better sense of where students stand academically and how best to move forward with interventions and additional support in the coming school year.

When will students take AzM2?
The AzM2 spring semester testing window for 2021 runs from April 5 – May 14 for the computer-based tests and April 5-21 for the paper and pencil version. Check with your school or child’s teacher for testing dates, times, and other specific test administration information.

How will my child take the test?
In October 2019, school districts and charter schools chose to administer the assessment via pencil and paper or computer-based version. Approximately 80% of schools and students across the state typically opt for the computer-based version of AzM2. Please note the computer-based does not mean the AzM2 is available remotely, online.

What if my child is attending school virtually this year?
All Arizona public school students in 3rd through 8th grade and high school students in 10th grade will be required to take the AzM2 exam this spring. If you child is attending classes remotely this year, your local district or charter school is working diligently to make accommodations so your child can take it in-person.

How long is the AzM2 test?
AzM2 is typically given over the course of 3 testing days. While the Arizona Department of Education provides recommendations in minutes for each of the tests, many schools typically have 1 full day for writing and 2 days that are half math and half reading.

Students are given plenty of time to complete each portion of the test. If they finish early, they are usually able to bring a book or magazine to read quietly while others finish. This year, ADE is providing additional flexibility to allow schools for this year to take the writing in the morning and one of the math parts in the afternoon given a substantial break. Please check in with your student’s teacher and school for testing dates, times, and other specific test administration information.

Does my child have to pass AZM2 to graduate from high school? 
Students are NOT required to pass the assessment for graduation. All students do need to pass a civics test for graduation.

When will the results be available?
All AzM2 individual score reports will be delivered to schools by July 23. Schools will share those score reports with parents and caregivers to provide information on your child’s performance and specific skills that you and his/her teacher can work on with your child. You can check out sample score reports here.

What if my child is not a good test taker?
There are no repercussions for your child scoring poorly on the AzM2 assessment. If your child is already struggling with grade-level content, you are most likely already in contact with their teacher to discuss ways to help support your child’s learning throughout the school year.

Additionally, the Arizona Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into a law a pause on the state’s A-F letter grade accountability system for the 2020-2021 school year to allow the education community to better understand the data surrounding student achievement during the pandemic without penalizing schools and districts.  

Will my child’s information be protected?
Your child’s test data is protected by a number of state and federal laws. Personal student data has never been, and never will be, shared with the federal government.

What are the benefits of AZM2?
AZM2 test results provide students with valuable information about how they are doing and if they are prepared for the next grade and eventually for college and career. Students should use the test as an opportunity to check on their progress without the anxiety of needing to pass to graduate.

State assessments also allow decision-makers and district leaders to better understand how events like the pandemic impact children differently. Whether comparing students of varied race, socioeconomic background or geography, exams like AzM2 shed light on those gaps and give educators the chance to address them. Find out what school leaders across Arizona have to say about the AzM2 assessment.

How can I help my child prepare?
Check out these top tips for helping your child prepare for AzM2.

Additional AzM2 Resources

AzM2 Fact Sheet  AzM2 FAQs