The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) today released statewide assessment results, commonly known as AzM2 and MSAA, from school year 2020/2021. Arizona public schools test students in Grades 3-8, and Grade 10 in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Arizona students were not assessed in the 2019/2020 school year due to the onset of COVID-19.
COVID-19 significantly impacted students and families, and scores reflect the challenging learning environments many students faced. Arizona saw an overall 4% drop in ELA test scores and an 11% decrease in mathematics scores for all students tested, compared to 2018/2019 data. Statewide, 38% of students passed the ELA section, and 31% passed the mathematics section. In 2021, 84% of students took the ELA assessment and 86% took the mathematics section.
“We know our students are ready to learn, and our teachers are ready to provide every student with the academic and mental health support they need. Together, our school communities are prepared to accelerate learning and help students succeed,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “We know that the most effective teaching and learning happens in the classroom when students are learning with their peers and a highly qualified educator. I am deeply concerned about what another school year disrupted by COVID-19 will mean for our students. We must get the virus under control and use proven mitigation measures in schools so safe in-person learning can be maintained throughout the year.”
Historical participation rates have been at or above 95% to meet federal requirements which were paused last school year. Due to the dramatic, and disproportionate impact COVID-19 had on student learning, comparing results of SY20/21 to previous years should be done with extreme caution, otherwise inferences may be invalid.
While assessment results represent just one data point of a student’s academic record, ADE is proactively using statewide assessment results by investing in programs and initiatives that will help accelerate student learning. A partnership with ASU Prep Digital Math Momentum program, a $9.6 million investment from ADE, brings high-quality instructional assistance to middle-school math classrooms to support and accelerate student learning.
ADE has also partnered with Governor Ducey’s office to bring $19 million in additional funds to the schools and students most significantly impacted by COVID-19. The Acceleration Academies Grant program will provide educators with training in best practices for math and literacy instruction, teacher stipends for tutoring students, and other proven strategies to accelerate academic achievement.
Additionally, ADE recently announced a $6.5 million partnership with Discovery Education. This investment brings Discovery’s ed-tech learning platform to classrooms statewide, including a vast collection of compelling, high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources.
A complete list of ADE’s allocations from federal recovery funds can be found here. Additional strategies and initiatives supporting student academic success will be announced in the coming months.
Historical assessment data and full 2020/2021 scores are available here.