Family and Community

Per A.R.S. §15-701, a 3rd grade student who fails to meet the Move On When Reading (MOWR) cut score on the Reading portion of the AzMERIT exam will not be promoted to the 4th grade. While many focus on the retention element of the MOWR legislation, which impacts less than 3% of students in the state each year, its primary and greatest impact is in its focus on early identification of struggling readers so that they receive targeted interventions designed to have them reading at grade level by or before the end of 3rd grade. The legislation is designed to equip schools and teachers to provide students with the specific assistance they need to become lifelong readers.

There are four good cause exemptions to retention for 3rd grade students who fail to meet the MOWR cut score. These apply if a student

  • Is an English learner or a limited English proficient student and has had fewer than two years of English language instruction; OR
  • Is in the process of a special education referral or evaluation and/or student has been diagnosed as having a significant reading impairment, including dyslexia; OR
  • Has an identified disability and has an IEP and the IEP team (including parents) agrees that promotion is appropriate;
  • OR Has demonstrated or subsequently demonstrates sufficient reading skills or adequate progress towards sufficient reading skills of the 3rd grade reading standards as evidenced through a collection of reading assessments approved by the State Board.