Dear FHUSD Families and Friends,
Following up on my recent Falcon Focus about assessments, the test dates for AZMERIT and AIMS Science are fast approaching. Each principal has posted their school’s test schedule on their school website with additional information included in newsletters. The Arizona Department of Education also provides resources for parents and students concerning testing procedures, practice tests and score reporting at this website: (
Here is some additional information about the state tests you may find helpful. School standardized tests are typically categorized as norm-referenced or criterion-referenced and each serves a different purpose. Norm-referenced test results compare student results to other students with scores typically reported out as a percentile, while criterion-referenced tests compare student results to a predetermined performance level often reported as a scale score. AIMS Science and AzMERIT score results are reported out as proficiency levels so would be considered criterion-referenced tests. The AzMERIT family report guide provides excellent information for parents about the proficiency levels
and AIMS Science scores are the primary achievement data source for determining school letter grades with points being given based on the percentage of students scoring in the four (4) performance bands. However, student-level AzMERIT scores are also compared to other students in a peer group to determine growth across years so there is an element of a norm-referenced test in how AzMERIT results are used.
As a parent, what can you do to help prepare your child for these tests? A Google search for “standardized test preparation” produces about 56,000,000 results so there is obviously a lot of advice for getting students ready to take these assessments. Given all of this information and guidance, I would recommend the following:
- Students should maintain consistent attendance and be in school for test dates unless they are ill. Make-up days are provided, however, to accommodate for illness.
- Students should have a healthy breakfast on test days.
- Students should not over-stress about the tests. Their classroom lessons throughout the year have prepared them for the test content.
- Listen carefully and follow the test instructions from their teachers.
- Review the basic computer tools using the practice tests (i.e., zoom in and out, highlighter, copy, paste, etc.) (Practice Test).
With all of the attention given to state testing, I remind everyone this is only a piece of the total learning experience of students on their path to achieve and celebrate educational excellence.
Robert Allen, Ed.D.