The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test was thrown out and a new assessment was adopted from the testing company American Institutes for Research (AIR) on November 3, 2014 called Arizona's Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching (AzMERIT). Our state exited PARCC because there was a "conflict of interest" for testing companies that were bidding on the new assessment for Arizona. So former Governor Jan Brewer exited PARCC on May 29, 2014 so the publishing company Pearson could bid on the new assessment that would be administered in our state. Since Pearson administered the PARCC Field test in our state in the Spring of 2014, Governor Brewer had to exit PARCC so there was no "conflict of interest" in the bidding process. All test results from the 2014 PARCC field test are owned by PARCC and our Arizona Deparment of Education (ADE) does not have access to the testing data. What a big waste of money!

AzMERIT from adoption to implementation was a mere 21 weeks. (AzMERIT was adopted on November 3, 2014 and implemented starting onon March 30, 2015). The testing window for the on-line AzMERIT test started in Arizona on March 30, 2015. The paper version started on April 13, 2015 for most schools. There was no field test for AzMERIT nor were validity tests conducted to determine the impact on Arizona students taking this assessment. We cannot even call this test "uniquely Arizona" because Arizona, Tennessee and Florida purchased the rights to Utah's Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) test in December 2014 for $10 million dollars. This gave Arizona access to all of UT's SAGE test modules including sample test questions. If you compare the sample test questions for UT's SAGE test and Florida's Standards Assessment (FAS) test they are exactly the same.


AIR, who administers AzMERIT, is a behavioral research company not an academic company. Behavioral research is usually administered to people who have severe cognitive or communication disabilities to determine why they demonstrate inappropriate behaviors. Why is a behavior-based research organization testing children who are attending normal schools? This question should be asked by every parent.


Parents and students were threatened this school year if they tried to "opt out" of the AzMERIT assessment. An Attorney General "opinion letter" was written by former Attorney General (AG) Tom Horne, on December 10, 2014 stating parents do not have the right to opt out of the statewide assessment, since Arizona Revised State statute (ARS), ARS 15-102, does not specifically state parents can do so. This is an "opinion letter" only and NOT law so this "opinion letter" does not supercede our "natural rights" as parents to direct the upbringing and education of our children. All Arizona Revised Statute, (ARS 15-741), states is that a local school district or governing school body has to "offer the test" but students do not have to "take the test." The Common Core assessment, AzMERIT, violates our 4th and 14th amendment rights, the "right to privacy" from data mining and the "right to direct the upbringing and education of our children" as parents and the Supreme Court agrees our "parental rights" are supreme! ARS 1-601 and 1-602 also outline our "parental bill of rights." In (ARS 1-601) it states: "The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right. This state, any political subdivision of this state or any other governmental entity shall not infringe on these rights without demonstrating that the compelling governmental interest as applied to the child involved is of the highest order, is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means. And in (ARS 1-602), it states: "All parental rights are reserved to a parent of a minor child without obstruction or interference from this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution."

Parents and students were threatened with this "AG letter" when they tried to "opt out" their children from the AzMERIT assessment. They were told they would be marked "unexcused;" they could not participate in an athletic program or musical performance if they missed too many days; they were told they would be marked poorly on their grade point average (GPA); or the most egregious, that they would be expelled from school for missing too many days due to "opting out." Arizona Department of Education (ADE) employee Irene Hunting, who runs the AzMERIT department, told parents they had "limited rights" and they had to take the AzMERIT exam. This is deplorable! Parents were also told their school would loose Title 1 funding if too many students "opted out."


The A-F Accountabilty System was disbanded in Arizona due to SB1289. No letter grades will be assigned to teachers nor the schools for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. AzMERIT test scores cannot be included as part of a students GPA as well due to SB1289! Despite the accountability system being disbanded, teachers and local schools were threatening parents that their students could not "opt out" of AzMERIT. Schools are afraid of losing their Title 1 funding that is tied to a federal requirement stating that "Schools needs a 95% participation rate in the statewide assessment" to receive Title 1 funding. Teachers and school administrators are also fearful on how student test data will be reported by the ADE.

There is expected to be a 50% drop in student test scores on the AzMERIT test as compared to the AIMS test based on a AzMERIT webinar presentation that was given by the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) on April 14, 2015. Test scores are not expected to be available until November 2015 nor the new A-F Accountability system finalized until December 2015. So why are schools and teachers so afraid of not receiving Title 1 money if test scores are not going to be available until the fall of the next school year? Doesn't the fiscal school year for 2015-2016, start in July 2015? No Title 1 funding could be lost without testing data being available until November 2015! How test scores for AzMERIT will be reported, for the 2014-2015 school year by the ADE, has not yet been determined as well.


For AzMERIT updates visit the Assessment webpage on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) website.


If you would like to Become a member of the "Arizonans Against Common Core" team and help us educate Arizona residents about Common Core, please e-mail Our website coordinator at AZSchoolChoice at cox.net