New Statewide Assessment

Selection of a New Assessment Aligned to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards

The Board held a Special Meeting regarding the selection of the new statewide assessment on November 3, 2014.

Arizona’s New Assessment

AzMERIT – Arizona Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching

AzMERIT – the new statewide assessment will be provided by American Institutes for Research (AIR)

AIR is a private, not-for-profit organization with 60 years of experience in aptitude and proficiency testing, including 37 years in K–12 educational assessments. AIR closely collaborates with knowledgeable test developers, local experts and teachers to develop standards-based, criterion-referenced tests. Over the years, AIR staff has worked on 40 plus state and national assessments, on international assessments, and on assessments in countries around the world. 

AIR has successfully supported Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)-compliant state assessment projects across the country in paper-pencil and online formats. AIR has delivered or signed contracts to deliver assessments in Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, Missouri, Florida, Ohio, California, Washington, West Virginia, Maine, South Dakota, Idaho, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In spring 2014, AIR administered a consortium’s multistate field tests to more than 4 million students in grades 3–8 and 11 in 21 states and jurisdictions.

Board Authority

Arizona Revised Statute §15-741 requires the Board to adopt and implement a test to measure pupil achievement.   A new assessment aligned with the fully implemented standards must be selected for use in School Year 2014-2015.

Procurement Process  

On March 6, 2014, incorporating feedback from parents, educators, and business and community leaders, the Board adopted a statement of values that was used as the basis for the requirements of the Request for Proposals (RFP). 

To ensure the objectivity and overall thoroughness of the RFP and the evaluation tool, the Board and Department utilized the services of neutral experts at the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc. The Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster improved student achievement through enhanced policies and practices educational assessment and accountability.

In June 2014, the RFP for the new statewide assessment was released, and responses were due in July 2014.  As allowed by Arizona procurement law, an independent evaluation team was assembled to review vendor proposals, assess the extent to which proposals address the requirements listed in the RFP, and recommend contract award to vendor that best addressed the state’s requirements.

A seven member team of volunteer experts from the Arizona education community evaluated the RFP responses.  The team members were employees of local schools or organizations, not employees of the State, and included:

–       A charter school representative

–       A superintendent

–       A director of research and evaluation

–       A special education director

–       An assistant superintendent for academic services

–       A chief information officer

–       A community member

The evaluation team reviewed six proposals and unanimously narrowed the choice to four groups. These four groups were invited to submit best and final offers, which the evaluation team reviewed.  The evaluation team unanimously recommended the private, not-for-profit American Institutes for Research (AIR) to Chief Procurement Officer Patty Clark and the State Board of Education, who have announced their selection of AIR.

 For more specific information on assessment as well as a more detailed Q&A document please visit AzMERIT Website

Request For Proposal Information 

Soon after the contract is finalized, public documents related to AIR’s contract will be electronically available through ProcureAZ.  All public documents related to the procurement are available for public inspection by making a public records request to the Arizona Department of Education.