Methodology

Third Grade Reading

The percent of Arizona 3rd grade students who scored Proficient or Highly Proficient on the AzMERIT 3rd grade English language arts assessment.

Sources

Arizona Department of Education, 2019 AzMERIT results

Included in this number

Third grade students in district and charter schools in Arizona.

Not included in this number

  • Third grade students with significant cognitive disabilities.
  • Students in private schools.

In Brief

AzMERIT data for 2019 were downloaded from the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) Accountability & Research website. County-level totals were filtered to show scores for the English Language Arts Grade three assessment. Students with scores in performance levels 3 and 4 (Proficient and Highly Proficient) were considered to have passed this assessment. The ADE report breaks down these scores by county and several demographic characteristics. To protect students’ privacy, ADE does not report cell counts that represent ten or fewer students. Also to protect privacy, all cells of either zero or one percent are grouped together and reported as “*.”

Detailed Methodology

This is a direct download from the Department of Education’s Accountability & Research website. Please see the section ‘School Geography’ for information on how geographies were determined for each school.

School Geography

To provide data to municipalities on local education conditions and trends, data that is usually released at the school or district level was converted to county and municipal level data. This process provides a picture of how both district and charter schools in a geographic area are performing.

In Arizona, school district boundaries do not necessarily follow city and town boundaries, and charter schools are free to locate where they please. Additionally, Arizona is an open-enrollment state, meaning that students can enroll in a school that is in a different town from where they reside, and there are an increasing number of online ‘virtual’ schools that may have an office in a certain city, but the students have no particular connection to the city. A final complication is that a school’s street address does not necessarily conform to the physical city in which it resides. For example, Marana High School is located within the Marana town limits. However, it has a Tucson street address even though the Tucson city limits are over 10 miles distant.

To resolve these conflicts, a shapefile containing the geography of Arizona municipalities (downloaded from the US Census Bureau) was imported into ArcGIS. This file contains the boundaries of incorporated cities and towns,   as well as Census Designated Places (CDP), which are recognized unincorporated population centers such as Sun City and Mayer.

From the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) the following were downloaded:

  • The name of all district schools and charter schools in Arizona.
  • Latitude and Longitude for each school location.
  • Location address of each school.
  • Unique State ID number for each school.
  • A flag indicating whether or not the school is a ‘virtual school.’

The latitude and longitude were used to map all schools in ArcGIS, and a spatial join was performed with the Census Bureau shapefile to determine the city, town, or CDP that each school is located in.

Schools that NCES identified as virtual schools  were labeled as such and not assigned to any municipality.

Schools  located on unincorporated county land and not in a CDP were individually examined, and assigned to a municipality based on the proximity of the school and district to neighboring areas.

Schools that were remote from population centers as defined by the Census Bureau are listed as “unallocated.”

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