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Two-Thirds Of Students Miss Performance Standards On AzMERIT Test

The Arizona State Board of Education meets Friday morning to certify results of this year’s new AzMERIT exams.

Unofficial scores show about two-thirds of public school students around the state failed to meet the new performance standards for math and language arts.  

Arizona Department of Education spokesman Charles Tack said the bad news was expected as the state transitions to Common Core standards.

“This is something that doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise to us, but it may be a bit of a surprise to parents who are expecting to see a trajectory based on the previous test, AIMS," Tack said. "But this is a new test, and really have to look at it as a fresh start.”

But Pearl Chang Esau with the education advocacy group “Expect More Arizona” said the results underscore a bigger problem.

“The scores really highlight the need to make education a top priority in our state," she said. "Particularly, the commitment to closing the achievement gap. Arizona has a pretty significant achievement gap for students that come from low-income backgrounds.”

Based on the AzMERIT  results, the state Board of Education will determine Friday what qualifies as a passing score.

Arizona is one of 43 states that have adopted new Common Core standards.

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.