AzMERIT test scores show students struggling with English, Math

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The AzMERIT Test results are in, and while they show some improvements, it isn't exactly the kind of results that people were hoping for.

Over 700,000 students from 3rd to 11th grade took the test last April, and while the results are preliminary, they aren't expected to change much.

For Arizona 3rd graders, they may have faced something like the following on their AzMERIT reading test: a story about a boy whose grandma comes to live with them, followed by multiple choice questions like from which point of view is the story told, and what lesson did the boy learn in the story.

Of the 83,000 3rd graders who took the test with similar questions, 48% passed it, an increase of two points. Still, 52% of 3rd graders failed the reading portion of the test.

"How can half of the kids in our state be failing reading at the end of third grade and any of think that's okay? That is not okay," said Rebecca Gau with Stand For Children Arizona.

Gau believes many solutions lie in solving Arizona's education funding and teacher crisis.

"More teachers left midway through the school year this past year," said Gau. "If you can't have strong teachers in the classroom, how are you going to improve reading?"

Some may point to a higher number of Spanish speakers in classrooms who may struggle with the language aspect of the test. Gau said students who grow up with Spanish as their first language take the same test as well as a separate test, however, they make up only 8% of the third-grade students, so that data has little impact on the average.