AZMerit is meritless

Lexie Schramm, Opinion Writer

Next week commences the start of AZMerit testing, a standardized test used for testing students on district standards. However, instead of studying up, most students are just hoping to get the testing days over and done with. In addition to the universal dislike of standardized tests, when it comes down to it, they don’t benefit anyone in any sense.


This year, students will spend a grand total of fifteen hours taking the newly created AZMerit tests. That makes about six days of semi-interrupted classes, which can ultimately lead to both students and staff being behind on curriculum. In addition to spending energy testing for three hours each day, students then have to go to their regular classes, leaving them overall exhausted by the end of the day. With the test being taken on the computer, even more problems can arise, like students having trouble focusing.


Despite putting all that effort in to take the tests, students don’t get anything out of it. The scores aren’t put in the current year’s gradebook. Colleges won’t see the scores, and with the exception of AIMS science, they aren’t shown on a graduating seniors’ transcript either. They are virtually worth nothing.


Furthermore, with majority of students in the state of Arizona not performing well of the AZMerit tests, they are hardly an accurate test of a child’s ability to meet an acceptable level of education. Educators say that it is because of the higher standards that have been implemented along with the new AZMerit tests, but to have so many students failing these tests points out the flaws in the standards. Moreover, these new tests are formatted with the majority of the questions created to confuse and trick test makers. In other words, the questions on the test are unfair.


Then there’s the issue of standardized tests as a whole. Not only is the general format confusing, the entire idea of testing students through the exact same tests eliminates all elements of individuality. Testing students on the exact same standards makes them more like robots programmed to do the same thing rather than their own unique person. The topics that are tested are also poor representations of a student’s’ intelligence. While it is important to learn basic math, reading, and writing skills, it can hurt students due to its formulaic fashion. It also leaves out those who are better in other fields, such as the arts. These negative aspects make the score of these test an inadequate depiction of an individual person’s abilities.


The negative aspects of the AZMerit greatly outweigh the benefits. Yes, it does help school districts see what they have to change to meet state standards, but the tests’ confusing format makes scores inaccurate measures of students’ progress. Instead of treating children like machines and stripping all aspects of originality, maybe those who make these test should take into account the fact that not everyone has the same strengths and weaknesses. That’s what makes us human.