What is AzMERIT?

 

AzMERIT is a required state assessment that replaces AIMS for mathematics, reading, and writing and is an untimed test.  AzMERIT was selected because it goes beyond multiple choice questions to provide a better indicator of what students have learned over the course of a school year.  AzMERIT is shorter than AIMS, which means students will spend less time taking state tests than in years past.  


AzMERIT will be administered in two ways for 2014-15: Computer-Based and Paper-Based.  The majority of Gilbert Public Schools will be administering AzMERIT in the traditional Paper-Based format, but five schools will engage in Computer-Based Testing.  Those schools are: Carol Rae Ranch  Elementary, Quartz Hill Elementary, Gilbert Junior High, Mesquite High, and Gilbert Classical Academy.  Teachers at these schools have received training prior to administration of the test.


Students in grades 3 through 8 will take AzMERIT in English Language Arts (Reading and Writing) and Mathematics at their grade level.  Students in high school will take AzMERIT End-of-Course assessments in English Language Arts (Reading and Writing) and Mathematics.  AzMERIT will be administered to high school students enrolled in English classes in grades 9, 10, and 11, as well as algebra I, geometry, and algebra II.


AIMS Science will continued to be administered in grades 4, 8, and in high school at the conclusion of the life science course.


How can my child prepare for the new test?

The best way for students to prepare for AzMERIT is already happening on a daily basis in our classrooms with projects, assignments, and discussions that teach critical thinking and problem solving skills.  


Additional steps parents can take to prepare students are to ensure children get a full night’s rest each evening and eat a nutritious breakfast each morning.


Will my high school student need to pass AzMERIT in order to graduate?

Students WILL NOT be required to pass AzMERIT Math or English Language Arts to graduate at any grade level.  As of February 20, 2015, current juniors and seniors DO NOT need to pass AIMS in order to graduate.  


What is the new Civics Test?

Beginning with the class of 2017, ALL  high school students will need to pass a civics test to receive a diploma.  A passing grade is 60%, and students will have more than one opportunity to pass the exam.  The test is comparable to the Naturalization Test required for United States Citizenship.


What does AzMERIT measure?

AzMERIT measures a student’s proficiency in Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards for English language arts and mathematics.  All of the test questions are aligned to the content standards for these subject areas. There are NO items in AzMERIT that measure behavior, emotional, or other non-cognitive aspects.  



Why must state assessments be administered?

Public schools are required to test 95% of their students and make Adequate Yearly Progress.  This particular requirement comes from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and is tied directly to essential funding in the areas of Titles I, II, and III, school improvement grants, migrant education, professional development for teachers, and a portion of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all of which represent millions of dollars in funding for Arizona and Gilbert Public Schools’ students.


Does AzMERIT impact scholarships for college?

State assessment results are utilized by students and their families for academic scholarships to Arizona’s state colleges and universities as well as some out of state institutions.  


When will testing occur?

The AzMERIT and AIMS Science testing window began April 6 and ends April 24, 2015 for GPS students.  


Will the AzMERIT results impact my student’s grades?

AzMERIT is an opportunity to see how your child is doing academically in the areas of math and English language arts.  These results WILL NOT be included in any student’s grades or impact a student’s ability to move on to the next grade level.


The AzMERIT results will provide your child’s teacher and school valuable information related to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards, focusing both on areas of strength and those that need improvement.  


As a parent, can I opt my student out of state testing?


While we understand that some parents have compelling reasons for choosing not to have their student participate in state testing, GPS, as a public school district, is obligated to administer the state assessment.  Any student who is enrolled in public school is expected to participate in state testing.


ADE (Arizona’s Department of Education) has clearly outlined our obligation as a public school district to test each of our students at grades 3 through 12.  At this time, there is no legal method for public school to waive that requirement.  


GPS is in ongoing communication with ADE and actively seeks out advisement on this issue.  Should there be a change in the testing policy, we will communicate that information to our parent community.



Who has access to my child’s testing information?

Student test data is protected by a number of state and federal laws.  Personal student data has never been shared with the federal government.  


Results of student testing are shared with parents and/or guardians, a student’s school, and the district.  These results are kept confidential and used at the student level only in order to inform a child’s teacher of his or her academic progress.  


The student information collected for AzMERIT is the same as the information that was collected for AIMS.  


Whom may I contact if I have additional questions and/or concerns?


A parent may contact the following individuals in the GPS Academic Services Department who will address any additional questions:


Brandie Harris, Director of Assessment

(480) 497-3416


Linda McKeever, Chief Academic Officer

(480) 497-3344
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Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto gives her first State of the Schools Address.  Dr. Kishimoto talks about how GPS ranks nationally, where it stands financially, and the exciting changes ahead to make GPS a national leader in education. To watch the address, click on this link.
 
Attention:  Certified and Support Staff
 
February 4, 2015
 

In an ongoing effort to share the details of the proposed stepless salary schedule transition, you are invited to attend any of the meetings noted below:

 

Certified Staff:   

Thursday, 2/19 from 4-5pm @ Mesquite High School Lecture Hall

 Thursday, 3/5 from 4:30-5:30pm @ Highland High School Lecture Hall

 

Support Staff:
Tuesday, 3/3 from 4-5pm @ Greenfield Jr High School Library

Wednesday, 3/18 from 4-5pm @ Mesquite Jr High School Auditorium

 
 
 
Swearing-In Day for GPS Board Members
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Helping The Hungry 
 
Desert Ridge Junior High Students, Staff and families donated a massive amount of food today to the United Food Bank.  This is the 13th year the school has made such an awesome contribution.  They are hoping to break last year's record of more than 36,000 pounds of food!  A mountain of rice bags, barrels and barrels of canned goods, and cases of water lined the hallway today, ready to be loaded onto the Food Bank semi-trailer.  Students brought their muscle to help load the enormous boxes.  

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GPS Demographic and Enrollment Analysis
 
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Budget Mitigation
 
The link below will take you to a video presentation regarding the GPS Budget Mitigation.  This was a presentation given by CFO Jeff Gadd to the Parent Dialogue Committee.  It is the raw, unedited video and may answer many of the questions you may  have.   
 
 
 
 
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