AZ Merit and the Arizona Bar Exam

What is a “high stakes test”? 

"High stakes testing is so named because the test outcomes are used to make important, often life-altering decisions. Such decisions may include the denial of a high school diploma, the repetition of a grade, the labeling of students and schools in pejorative ways, the withholding of funding, and even the closing of a school. Students who may do well in school all year but fail a high stakes test may be required to attend summer school and take the test again or spend another year in the same grade…" See High Stakes Test.   

The Arizona Bar Exam is an example of a “high stakes test” in the professional world.  The Arizona Bar is the gateway to legal practice.  Those who take the exam hope they only have to take it once.  It is given to adults who have graduated from high school and have completed another 6-8 years of college level work.  By the time they take the exam, they will have spent thousands of hours in the classroom, studied for more thousands of hours, read hundreds of books, written hundreds of research papers, and taken hundreds of oral and written exams. 

After graduating from Law school, many individuals often pay over $3,000 to prepare for the “high stakes” bar exam.   See Arizona Complete Bar Review Course.

Students know that the Arizona Bar exam will be given over a 2-day period.  They know they will be tested for 6 hours each day.  They know in advance the topics that will be covered:  torts, contracts, criminal law, federal constitutional law, evidence, real property, etc.  They know that the exam consists of: (1) Six Multistate OF ARIZONA Essay Examination (MEE) questions; (2) Two Multistate Performance BAR EXAM Tests (MPT); and (3) the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE).

For safety reasons, both a police officer and an EMT are onsite during the testing period. 

They know that they will see the results within 2 months.  

Instructions for taking the Arizona Bar Exam are covered in this 6-page document

AZMerit is an example of a “high stakes exam” based on the Kindergarten through Grade 12 Common Core Standards.  It is required by the State of Arizona of children as young as 8 years old, beginning in Grade 3 through high school.   These children will take the exam every year.  Many have just learned to read and write. Teachers try to prepare students for the exam, but because they have signed a "security" statement that they will not look at the exam, no one except A.I.R., one of the world’s largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations, who developed the test, knows what’s on the test.   However, some test samples have been made available online.  Also, some students are reporting what they have seen on the exam.  (See below for more information on the types of questions.)

Students don’t know exactly when they will take the test.  Some schools identify dates, and others identify a 2-week period.  It could be anytime throughout the month of April into early May. The test will cover 3 days for a total of approximately 7 hours or more.  It takes some students much longer. 

Results from AZMerit are not reported until four to six months after the tests are completed. and teachers are not permitted to see how students answered specific questions. Even though teachers didn’t design the test, don’t know what’s on it, and don’t grade it, they will be evaluated on how well their students do on the test.

 AZMerit has provided the test administrators/teachers with a 54-page document that includes a script of precisely what they allowed to say when they administer the test.   

Information on Types of Questions

Click HERE for the link to the Arizona Department of Education website regarding AZMerit sample tests:  Some of the topics for essay writing include: 1) child’s attitude toward clutter in the family’s household; 2) the history of ready made clothing and how the government helped by standardizing sizes;  3) a biography about a man named Jim Bridger; and 4) losing one’s fear of the ocean through snorkeling with a friend. 

Upon taking the test, some students have reported other topics, such as the proper way to dispose of paint and the proper way to dispose of a lightbulb.    A fifth grade student reported to his teacher that one of the reading passages talked about a kid whose family was moving to a country called Palestine. (Note: There is no country named Palestine. That is what those who deny the existence of the Jewish state of Israel call the country of Israel.)

See “Student Secretly Films Common Core Test” by clicking HERE.  If it is removed from Youtube, it will automatically disappear from this blog.  This has happened when other test questions have been published via social media, because anytime actual test questions have been published, they have quickly been removed under the threat of potential lawsuits for “leaking” the test questions.   See Pearson Wins Again: Attachment Unavailable 

You will notice that the essay question appears on the SAGE exam.   Arizona paid Utah $2.223 million, which allows Arizona the use of SAGE materials for one year, with the option to renew for an additional 2 years.  See Cashing in: Three States to pay $10M for rights to study Utah’s SAGE Test.

Follow on the left side of the video to see the article that students must read.  It is 25 paragraphs promoting online textbooks and Microsoft’s Tablet in particular.  As you may or may not know the Gates Foundation has “contributed” around $2.3 billion toward promoting Common Core.  Also featured is the Discovery Techbook, which is published by Pearson.  Pearson has been awarded millions of dollars from the federal government in no-bid contracts and owns virtually every textbook company in America. See No Profit Left Behind.   

Your tax dollars paid for this Microsoft and Pearson promotional advertisement. 

See Also:

Gina Ray Interview: The Mommy Lobby and AZMerit Opt Out Movement

Tim Carter and Gina Ray: Opposing Views on Common Core

$100,000 Reward for Common Core Test Validity Reports

High Stakes Testing

Common Core Opt Out Movement Accelerates

Parents all over U.S. ‘opting out’ of standardized student testing  

Fred Grimm:  Florida Failed the Tests, and Flunked the Kids 

Florida school board makes history, opts out of Common Core

“High stakes testing failures have high stakes consequences.”  

Parents Against the Common Core