The AZMerit test scores matter to:
— Those with a faith-based belief in the Common Core standards and a federalized education system.
— The behavioral and social science research company that charged Arizona $19 million for creating the test.
— Parents who are misled to believe this one-time assessment will somehow determine if their child is ready for college or career.
— All Arizona students who are pressured into doing well on another standardized test.
Supporters of AZMerit like to highlight what appears as an intimidating sample math question to prove how rigorous the test is. However, one of the writing prompts from the AZMerit test for my 10th graders last year was to “define happiness for a teen magazine.” Sadly, this pop culture approach to measuring student learning is something Arizona students must submit to.
Supporters have convinced many parents this is the benchmark for advancement, high school graduation, college and career.
Bureaucrats are necessarily too far removed from curricula and pedagogy to construct a test that sufficiently measures student learning. Great educators will base student interventions on their own in-class observations, while the best schools use tests that are aligned with their curriculum.
If we want confident, eloquent and critical-thinking students, we’ll need a better approach to education. In addition to placing excellent teachers in every classroom, we’ll give schools options on tests that are aligned with their curriculum.
We need less bureaucracy, not more. This would give teachers more face-to-face instructional time they need with their students, meanwhile giving students greater opportunities to demonstrate what they’ve actually learned.
State Rep. Paul Boyer chairs the House Education Committee.