The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) recently released final combined performance results from the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 administrations of the AzMERIT statewide assessment. An Excel file containing the results and additional details about the assessments has been posted at www.azed.gov/accountability-research/data/.
“I am very proud of the hard work my Assessment and Accountability teams have done to release these scores earlier than ever,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “Although most know that I think the AzMERIT test has a long way to go to become the most effective tool of student assessment in our state, I am pleased to announce that our students have improved in 26 of the 30 grade-level and test categories. While we still have much work to do, I congratulate all of our educators and students for widespread gains across the board.”
The results include the total percentage of Arizona public school students who passed the assessments and the percentage at each performance level. In addition to the statewide results, proficiency rates are available for schools, districts/charter holders and counties. Breakdowns by grade level, subgroup (e.g., students with disabilities, English language learners, economically disadvantaged students) and ethnicity are also provided.
Arizona public school students in third grade through high school take AzMERIT. Students in grades 3 through 8 take an assessment in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics at their grade level. Students taking high school level English and math take End-of-Course assessments that test their proficiency in those subjects.
Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) results were not included in the most recent release of data because this assessment needed to conduct a standards validation, which is why ADE has communicated with schools and the Arizona State Board of Education that there would be a delay in reporting those results this year. Once that process is complete, those results will be posted on ADE’s website.
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will hold its first-ever summit between two different regions of the Zip Code Project on Friday, August 17, bringing together the South Phoenix and West Phoenix-Maryvale regions in an effort to assist disconnected youth.
“The Zip Code Project identifies areas with high concentrations of disconnected youth and focuses on bringing community resources together to assist them,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “Left unaided, these young people will often end up pursuing futures that include crime, welfare or other unacceptable outcomes. Our mission with the Zip Code Project is to help these young adults get back on the path to a successful, happy and productive life.”
The Zip Code Project is an ADE initiative dedicated to assisting disconnected youth ages 16-24 that are neither employed nor attending school. The initiative was designed to bring government, community and non-profit organizations together to develop Community Boards of Action in an effort to end youth disconnection.
The purpose of the summit is to pool community resources together to develop a plan of action to complete over the next 10-12 months. A few topics to be discussed will include the following:
development and recruitment of a Zip Code Project Youth Advisory Council to assist with the direction of the project.
creation of a volunteer mentorship program to allow professionals to mentor youth in areas such as FAFSA paperwork, resume building, career advising and skill realization.
discuss a potential partnership with Arizona State University for developing an iPhone and Android App that helps provide resources for disconnected youth.
receive feedback from community partners on their new plans and goals for the school year.
ADE also intends to facilitate 2018-19 Zip Code Project Launch events in both Chinle and Ajo. More information on those events will be coming soon. For those interested in attending the 2018 South Phoenix/West Phoenix-Maryvale Zip Code Project Summit, please find the info below:
Date: 2-4 p.m., Friday, August 17
Location: Arizona Department of Education, 1535 West Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced that one quarter of educator certification renewals granted so far this year have been submitted online.
“I am very proud of both our Certification and IT departments for creating the AzEDCert Educator Portal,” Superintendent Douglas said. “This technology means that hardworking certified teachers and administrators no longer need to make the inconvenient trek to our office in Phoenix to renew their certifications. We need to do everything we can to ease the administrative burden we put on our educators, which is why I am so very proud of both the portal and how we have streamlined other certification processes.”
Educator certification processing times for renewals have been cut in half this year due to new technology and improved administrative processes. Teachers who have a signed letter of intent from a traditional district or charter school authenticating their employment typically have their files evaluated within 72 hours, barring any background verification issues.
In addition, if a teacher is applying for a reciprocal certification, an emergency teacher certification or an emergency substitute teacher certification, the teacher will receive immediate certification. The only conditions for immediate approval are that the teacher must apply in person at a certification window in Phoenix, as well as have the appropriate paperwork correctly completed.
While there has been an increase in certification processing efficiency, there has also been a 28 percent increase in certification applications submitted over the previous fiscal year. The greatest increases in certifications have been in secondary education (59 percent), physical education (31 percent), elementary education (21 percent) and arts education (20 percent).
More information about the AzEDCert Educator portal can be found on the Certification Unit’s webpage at http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/.
Pizza Camp was the kick-off for this year’s Arizona Summer Feeding Program on Thursday, June 14th from 1-2pm at Chief Hill Learning Academy in Chandler. The Dairy Council of Arizona awarded a total of $20,000 in grants to the Summer Feeding Program to celebrate June’s Dairy Month. The Chandler Unified School District was one of 32 programs to receive $2,000 of this total to help feed children who would otherwise go hungry when out of school.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was on hand, along with The Arizona Diamondback’s organist Bobby Freeman and alumni player Kelly Stinnett, as well as the folks at the Dairy Council of Arizona and the Chandler Firefighters to help make pizzas. The groups interacted with 50+ hungry kids, as they made their own pizzas and watched the dough being hand-tossed by pizza professionals before baking them in a state-of-the-art conveyor pizza oven.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded child nutrition program which was established to ensure low-income children, ages 18 and younger, continue to have an opportunity to receive nutritious means when school in not in session. In Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), Health and Nutrition Services division, directly administers the program.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, noted that the Summer Food Services Program (SFSP) has begun.
“Many low-income families depend on the free and reduced meals that are served during the school year,” said Superintendent Douglas. “No child in Arizona should suffer from food insecurity just because school is out of session. That’s why the Summer Food Services Program is so important.”
So far, one thousand and fifty-five (1,155) SFSP sites have been approved in the State of Arizona. This is an increase over last year’s total of one thousand and seventy-three (1,073). As with every summer, additional SFSP sites are added through the summer. Some of the sites are already opened, others will open soon. The sites will remain open through the first week in August.
Last year, during the summer of 2017, more than 3.1 Million meals were served at SFSP sites in Arizona. With the increase in sites, it is anticipated that even more meals will be served. The majority of sites serve breakfast and lunch. Some also serve dinner and/or snacks.
To find a Summer Food Program site near you and find out their address, times of operation and which meals are served, please follow this link to the interactive map: www.azhealthzone.org/summerfood/
Following the decision made yesterday evening by teachers to strike next Thursday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas has implored teachers not to walk out of their classrooms if their salary demands are not met by that time.
“I have long been a vocal proponent of providing teachers with significant pay raises,” Superintendent Douglas said. “No one has more respect for the jobs that teachers do, which is why I proposed a viable, meaningful increase in their salaries last year, as well as sustainable funding specifically for them and school facilities.
“But if the teachers do not give the leadership at the Capitol the time to implement their salary increase, I’m afraid that striking will only hurt students and parents, while simultaneously setting back their own cause. I know that if we put the students first, we will be able to resolve all of our issues, and that is the role the Arizona Department of Education and I plan on playing until this issue is resolved.”
In preparation of a potential walk out on Thursday, the Department will issue guidance in the coming days from program areas such as School Finance, Health and Nutrition and Assessment. The Department is already working with schools that are deciding to remain open to provide free and reduced meals, as well as provide direction regarding the legal amount of annual instructional hours necessary for schools that close.
“Since my first priority is the children,” Superintendent Douglas continued, “in the unfortunate event that the teachers proceed to strike on Thursday, I’m calling on the communities, businesses and faith-based organizations near the schools that decide to close to please make contingencies on behalf the students that do not have anywhere else to go, especially the children of single parents. It’s an absolute shame that it has come to this, but now that we are all in this situation, I hope that the teachers and Capitol leadership can rebuild trust and come together to resolve this matter as quickly as possible for the sake of our students.”
Superintendent Douglas will also present more guidance and provide an update at the upcoming State Board of Education meeting on Monday regarding a potential walkout.
The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) has released fourth and eighth grade math and reading results from the 2017 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is designed to inform the public about academic achievement of American elementary and secondary students. As Arizona continues to tackle numerous important educational challenges, the Arizona 10-year (2007-17) trend NAEP scores remain strong, while the two-year (2015-17) comparative results are mixed.
“I am pleased to see the continuing upward trend in the test scores of Arizona students,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “But we also see the negative impact that occurs when we experiment with our children’s education as we did with the Common Core standards. I am excited to see how the adoption of our new Arizona standards will benefit our students’ scores going forward.”
The Arizona average scale scores for 2017 NAEP are +8 in Grade 8 Reading, +6 in Grade 8 Math, +5 in Grade 4 Reading, and +2 in Grade 4 Math when compared to Arizona average scale scores for 2007.
2017 Arizona Grade 8 Reading
Arizona students maintained the same average scale score in 2017 that they received in 2015 (263).
Arizona students with a disability (SD) had an average scale score of 233; this was +7 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona SD students in 2015 (226).
Arizona African-American students had an average scale score of 254; this was a +5 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona African-American students in 2015 (249).
Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students had an average scale score of 254; this was a +10 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students in 2015 (244).
2017 Arizona Grade 8 Math
Arizona students had an average scale score that equaled the national average scale score (282).
Arizona Asian students had an average scale score of 316; this was a +11 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona Asian students in 2015 (305).
Arizona African-American students had an average scale score of 272; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona African-American students in 2015 (269).
Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students had an average scale score of 263; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students in 2015 (260).
2017 Arizona Grade 4 Reading
Arizona students maintained the same average scale score in 2017 that they received in 2015 (263).
Arizona SD students had an average scale score of 183; this was +6 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona SD students in 2015 (177).
Arizona English Learner (EL) students had an average scale score of 171; this was a +6 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona EL students in 2015 (165).
Arizona white students had an average scale score of 232; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona white students in 2015 (229).
2017 Arizona Grade 4 Math
Arizona students had an average scale of 234; this was a -4 scale-point decrease from that of Arizona students in 2015 (238).
Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students had an average scale score of 223; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students in 2015 (220).
NAEP Achievement Levels are defined as the following:
Basic denotes a partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.
Proficient represents a solid academic performance with demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced the launch of the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) AzEDCert Educator Portal. The new online tool will allow teachers six months away from having their certifications expire, as well as those whose certifications have lapsed within the last year, to apply for renewal from the comfort of their homes.
“I am delighted that our hardworking certified teachers and administrators will no longer have to make the inconvenient trek to Phoenix to renew their certifications,” Superintendent Douglas said. “We should do whatever we can to simplify the administrative processes of becoming an educator, while keeping our standards for educators as high as possible. I am extremely proud of our Certification Unit and our IT (Information Technology) Division for making this portal a reality for our educators.”
There are currently over 15,000 educators with active certificates who would be eligible to apply for renewal utilizing this new system. Not only would teachers and administrators no longer need to apply in person or via mail for this service, Arizona certified educators can now view their certification information on-line via the portal.
The AzEDCert Educator Portal also boasts many other features. The system will send e-mail reminders to educators who are eligible to renew prior to their certificates expiring, as well as provide e-mail alerts that update them on the status of their application throughout the process.
The cost for renewals will remain at $20 per certificate, but a $2 online convenience fee will be added per application submitted via the portal. In addition, ADE’s Certification Unit will continue to accept applications in-person and by mail.
The on-line system will not only add convenience for educators applying for renewal, but also increase the Department’s efficiency in processing applications. Additional services and features that provide further convenience with applications and other services to educators are also forthcoming.