School test scores during 2021/22, despite the transition of reopening schools following the COVID 19 shutdown and the subsequent pandemic surges at schools throughout Arizona, rose overall compared to the results of the 2020/21 term when the Coronavirus forced public districts to close their learning institutions.
In a release from the Arizona Department of Education, the results in grades three to eight on the new statewide assessment, Arizona’s Academic Standards Assessment or AASA, were:
Passing Scores by Grade Level 2022:
Grade 3: ELA 41%/Math 40%
Grade 4: ELA 44%/Math 40%
Grade 5: ELA 39%/Math 37%
Grade 6: ELA 39%/Math 31%
Grade 7: ELA 43%/Math 28%
Grade 8: ELA 36%/Math 27%
Passing Scores by Grade Level 2021:
Grade 3: ELA 35%/Math 36%
Grade 4: ELA 45%/Math 35%
Grade 5: ELA 45%/Math 32%
Grade 6: ELA 37%/Math 30%
Grade 7: ELA 37%/Math 30%
Grade 8: ELA 35%/Math 27%
Overall ELA scores went up three percent. Mathematics increased by two percent.
Participation rates, which fell below acceptable standards in the Coronavirus ravaged 2020/21 school year increased to over 90 percent in 2021/22.
Unfortunately, there is no test result data from private schools where students’ families used publicly funded Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA’s; Vouchers) because those learning institutions are not required to report assessment feedback.
On social media, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman proudly posted:
Despite the tumult of the Delta & Omicron variants, our students & teachers did something remarkable: increased academic scores. Thanks to historical federal funding, schools hired more staff, improved technology & invested in students. It's paying off. https://t.co/478ptrIAVk
— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) September 7, 2022
In the press release from the Arizona Department of Education, the Superintendent echoed some of the themes expressed in her social media post. She also rightly proclaimed that more work needed to be done to augment student performance results and that Governor Ducey and the Republican Legislature needed to repeal the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) so districts and schools can proceed with the essential monetary investments needed to continue improving student test scores to their pre-pandemic levels and higher.
“This past year the Arizona Department of Education has worked tirelessly to provide tools and resources to educators and students to accelerate learning. We know the pandemic sidelined students and teachers for weeks at a time, presenting challenges for all our learners. Even with those obstacles, our students & teachers did something incredible: increased test scores. However, these results show we still have significant work to do, and we must remain laser-focused on providing students and teachers with the tools they need to succeed.”
“If we want to continue increasing scores, defunding our public schools will have the opposite impact. The infusion of federal dollars shows that increased funding can increase learning outcomes, not just on test scores but in our student’s abilities to thrive and contribute to our state.”
There is too much at stake if our leaders do not act on AEL. There are too many future doctors, engineers, educators, and so much more, sitting in our classrooms right now – we are gambling with their future by not lifting the cap. I call on this legislature and our Governor to act today for our state’s students.”