BY Mia Vega, Principal of Legacy Traditional School – East Mesa (Appeared in East Valley Tribune on Sunday, March 24, 2019)
It’s AzMERIT season for Arizona schoolchildren.
That means public school students across the state will shortly settle into their desks for another round of standardized testing. Arizona’s AzMERIT assessment measures how students in grades three through 12 are performing in English Language Arts and Math. These tests also are a primary gauge by which parents, policymakers and education leaders can measure the relative achievement of individual schools.
Any standardized test can be daunting for students, especially the first time around. If you’re a parent, you may be wondering what you can do to help your child score their best.
Below are some tips to take some of the stress out of the AzMERIT.
Before the test
Practice makes perfect. Did you know the Arizona Department of Education makes sample AzMERIT assessments available online so students can take a dry run? It’s true.
That means test-takers can familiarize themselves with the format, phrasing and content of the exam. Encourage your child to spend a bit of time working through the sample tests and they’ll have a lot less worry when it comes to the real thing.
Equally important: make sure your child gets a full night’s sleep and good breakfast before taking the test. Nothing will cramp test performance like an empty stomach. Legacy Traditional Schools knows how important this is, which is why each of our campuses is offering free breakfast to students during AzMERIT testing.
During the test
The big day is here. Your student has practiced hard, enjoyed a sound sleep and a good breakfast. All that’s left to do is take the test.
Encourage your child to follow directions carefully. Stay focused. And do their best!
Ultimately, AzMERIT is a measuring stick for how students are doing relative to their peers. Just make sure your child understands why it’s important that they try hard.
After the test
Remember: the learning doesn’t end when the test is over.
Standardized assessments like AzMERIT are just one milestone in your child’s educational journey. These tests offer valuable insight into your child’s academic growth and the performance of their school. Don’t think of it as a contest; rather, it’s an opportunity to monitor and adjust.
After test results are released, remember to work with your child’s teachers to evaluate their performance and set goals for the future. If this is the first time your youngster is taking the test, they’ll have plenty more opportunities to take the AzMERIT in the years ahead.