All schools in Ahwatukee exceeded the statewide passing rates for the 2019 AzMerit tests - except for Mountain Pointe High School.
Mountain Pointe recorded a 27 percent passing rate in English and a 26 percent passing rate in math – roughly half the statewide average of 42 percent in both subjects, according to data released last week by the Arizona Department of Education.
AzMerit measures whether students are performing at grade level according to state education standards. The test results are part of the formula the department uses to grade schools and give parents an idea of how well a school is preparing students for college and the workforce.
All public and charter students in grades 3 through 12 take the tests, although data released last week shows hundreds of students in high schools either avoided taking them or opted for a different assessment test.
Education Department spokesman Stefan Swiat said the English Language Arts test is a combination of essays and pull-down choices. The test also assesses students’ knowledge of literature they are expected to have read.
Data released last week indicates Mountain Pointe’s passing rate is the second-lowest in the Tempe Union High School District – with Tempe High’s scores trailing behind at 17 percent in English and 14 in math. Desert Vista High School led the district‘s seven campuses with scores of 54 percent in both subjects.
In a further breakdown of proficiency levels, the results in English showed 73 percent of Mountain Pointe students were below proficiency level, with 54 percent showing minimally proficienvy. For math, 44 percent were minimally proficient and another 22 percent partially proficient.
Conversely, more than half of Desert Vista students were proficient to highly proficient in both subjects. That exceeded Tempe Union’s district-wide showing; less than half of all students were either proficient or highly proficient in math and English.
Meanwhile, Kyrene School District’s test results are near the head of the class among other East Valley public school systems.
Kyrene’s district-wide scores of 60 percent in English and 57 percent in math were beaten only by Higley Unified in Gilbert. Kyrene’s district-wide passing rates amounted to 59 percent in both subjects.
Higley achieved a 63 percent passing in both subjects, while Queen Creek Unified registered 62 percent, and Chandler Unified, 58.
However, in Mesa, the state’s largest school system, the passing rate was 41 percent in English and 43 in math; Tempe Union came in at 37 and 35 percent, respectively; and Tempe Elementary registered 38 and 43 percent, respectively.
District-wide passing rates for English among other regional districts were: Chandler Unified, 59; Queen Creek Unified, 56; and Gilbert Public Schools, 53. GPS recorded 52 percent district-wide for math.
Among other local schools, BASIS Ahwatukee recorded an 84 percent passing rate in English and 92 percent in math.
Horizon Honors Elementary achieved an 85 percent passing rate in English and a 70 percent passing rate in math while its secondary school garnered 64 percent in both subjects.
AzMerit results also are used by the state to award bonus payments to schools that do exceptionally well on the tests.
Last year 10 Kyrene schools qualified for a total $1.2 million in bonus payments and the district appears on course to repeat its success this year, according to individual school results.
The exceptions are Ninos in Tempe and Lomas in Ahwatukee, which had the lowest scores in the Kyrene district. Ninos recorded a 38 percent passing rate in English and 36 percent in math while Lomas scored 44 and 36 percent, respectively.
Among Kyrene’s six middle schools, Centennial’s results were second-lowest with 43 percent in English and 37 percent in math. Only Kyrene Middle School in Tempe scored lower, with 38 and 32 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, most Ahwatukee schools in the Kyrene led the district with test scores.
Sierra reaped the highest scores in the district, with 88 percent passing in English and 86 in math.
The respective percentage scores in English and math among other Kyrene’s other elementary schools in Ahwatukee were: Cerritos, 79 and 80; Monte Vista, 79 and 83; Lagos, 73 and 79; Colina, 64 and 60; Estrella, 69 and 67; Esperanza, 57 and 60; and Milenio, 57 and 56.
Altadena’s 70 percent passing rates in both subjects were the highest among all Kyrene middle schools while Akimel A-al registered 53 percent in English and 74 percent in math.
For Kyrene’s three other middle schools scores in English and math were, respectively: KTA-Sureno, 63 and 67 percent; Pueblo, 56 and 52.
High schools across the Valley generally produced a mixed bag of test scores indicating - less than half the students were performing at grade level in either subject.
One expert, who requested anonymity, suggested it’s because students know passing AzMerit isn’t required to graduate.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said students statewide improved in 13 of the 22 grade-level and test categories for 2019.
Swiat also noted statewide proficiency scores in most states are below 50 percent.
The data breaks down results in a number of different ways, including economic status, gender and race.
In Kyrene, the gender breakdown on passing results was nearly even in math but markedly different in English.
The data show 66 percent of all girls in Kyrene School District passed English compared to 55 percent of the boys. In math, 57 percent of girls passed while 58 percent of the boys performed at grade level.
How well students tested also is broken down into four performance levels: minimally proficient, partially proficient, proficient and highly proficient.
For Kyrene district-wide in English, 23 percent tested highly proficient, 37 percent tested proficient, 18 percent were partially proficient and 22 percent were minimally proficient.
In math, 27 percent of Kyrene students tested highly proficient and 31 percent proficient. Of the rest, 20 percent tested partially proficient and 22 percent tested minimally proficient.
Horizon Honors Elementary school results showed 40 percent of students tested proficient and 45 percent highly proficient in English while 39 percent were proficient and 32 percent highly proficient in math.
Horizon Honors Secondary results showed 36 percent proficient and 28 percent highly proficient in math, and 36 percent proficient and 27 percent highly proficient in English.
BASIS Ahwatukee results showed 31 percent proficient and 61 percent highly proficient in math, and 43 percent proficient and 41 percent highly proficient in English.
Parents must contact their children’s school to get their kids’ results but other breakdowns of results for individual schools can be found at azed.gov/assessment.