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Get Ready for the AZMerit Writing Test
Get Ready for the AZMerit Writing Test
Al Wood
Monday, March 18, 2019

Get Ready for the AZMerit Writing Test!

In the coming weeks, Ash Fork students will be preparing for the AZMerit Writing Test.  Students will take the test during the week of April 8th.

Students’ essay scores will be combined with their AZMerit Reading Test Scores to calculate their overall score on the AZMerit English Language Arts Test.

On the writing test, students will be given:

  • Documents to read and use as evidence in their essay
  • An essay prompt to answer
  • A copy of the AZMerit essay rubrics
  • An electronic dictionary/thesaurus
  • A few blank pieces of paper

With these resources, students should be able to:

  • Decide whether the question should be answered using an argumentative or informative essay
  • Use the blank pieces of paper to appropriately outline and plan their writing
  • Organize, format, and phrase the essay using the rules of formal academic English
  • Organize both their essays and their paragraphs using the procedures taught in class
  • Correctly use direct quotes, mixed quotes, and/or paraphrased evidence from the provided documents
  • Create in-text citations using author and paragraph number
  • Connect evidence from the documents to the essay question and thesis statement
  • Self-revise their essays to make sure essays are well detailed, organized, and address the question
  • Use the dictionary/thesaurus tool to correct spelling and improve word choice
  • Pace themselves to fully plan, write, revise, and edit the essay in approximately 6 hours

Middle and high school students that have my class should simply remember to write this essay the exact same way they write essays for my class.  The key difference, however, is that there won’t be a teacher or graphic organizer telling them how to write the essay.  It will be up to students to remember the steps for writing an essay and how to convert blank pieces of paper into helpful graphic organizers.  It will be up to students to also take time to revise and edit their work using the dictionary/thesaurus tool.  Teachers will not be able to remind students to follow the steps they use in class every day.

Essays are graded using the AZMerit rubrics that students are exposed to in my class. 

  • Up to 4 points for organization and focus on the essay question
  • Up to 4 points for evidence use and detail
  • Up to 2 points for English language conventions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization)

Ash Fork’s goal is for all students to show growth in their scores from last year.  Students who are successful in writing essays for my class should also be successful on AZMerit, but only if they use the same process for writing the AZMerit essay that they use for writing essays in my class.

While there is no real way to study for standardized tests like AZMerit, students who are familiar with the test format and review sample questions/answers are likely to earn a higher score.  This website provides good resources for preparing for all AZMerit exams:

https://azmeritportal.org/sample-tests.stml