AzMERIT with a Side of Chocolate Cake

The next two weeks are AzMERIT weeks in our household.

In case you do not live in Arizona and as such are lucky to not know of what I speak, the AzMERIT is a statewide standardized test that is given to all students once a year, covering English Language Arts, Writing, Math, and in the higher grades, Science.  It requires the students to enter their answers on a computer, to focus, and stay quiet and in their seats for hours at a time.  It is high stakes and it starts in third grade.  When they are eight.  Eight. 

Apparently students who are not protected under an IEP or other individualized education program and who do very poorly on the reading portion of the text, may be held back.  I say “apparently” because I have not actually seen this happen or have heard of an actual student that someone I know knows, be held back.  But that is not saying too much as this is my third year teaching and my first one in a grade level that actually has to administer the test.

Yes, it is a time of anxiety.  The students are stressed.  Their parents are stressed.  The teachers are stressed.  The whole thing is just no fun.

And so I soothe the little ones, who are taking it for the first time.  I soothe their parents who email me of tears and upset tummies.  I soothe my own two children who at the breakfast table yesterday were in tears.  All over a test.  Ugh.

This week in our house we are using the AzMERIT as an excuse.  An excuse to eat leftover chocolate birthday cake as an after school snack.  We deserve it, we say.  We have worked hard. 

So we soothe ourselves with chocolate cake and wait for the AzMERIT to be over.  

I am concerned that we might run out of cake before we run out of test…


About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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7 Responses to AzMERIT with a Side of Chocolate Cake

  1. I hate standardized test time, too. Ours is next month. Making cake to get through it is a great idea!

  2. Cake will disappear first that for sure. What’s happen if they don’t pass tests or perform poorly? Is this test more for grading schools/teachers or that impact anyhow children future?

    • shoes says:

      You hit the nail on the head! From what I can determine, this test is more for the grading of individual schools (bragging rights, if you will). Teacher performance pay is in a small way tied to this test, but not much. Some students may be at risk of being held back a year if they do poorly on the reading portion, but the first step with that is attendance of summer school. The students would have to score very low and not have any school supports in place for this to happen. This fear, however, ratchets up the stress and anxiety of all that are involved in the testing (parents, kids, teachers, etc.).

      So I shall eat cake, because I have tried my best to prepare my students, I feel they are ready, and really – what else is there to do at this point?

  3. Pecora Nera says:

    In Italy a teacher can decide to hold back a pupil for a year… Its a pity some teachers aren’t held back for a year.

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