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For New Common-Core Test, Ariz. Picks American Institutes for Research

The Arizona State Board of Education has selected the American Institutes for Research to provide the literacy and math assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

The new test will be called the AzMERIT exam, and will replace the state's Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) tests. The AzMERIT tests will be administered in the 2014-15 school year, as required by state law.

"Over the years, AIR staff has worked on 40 plus state and national assessments, on international assessments, and on assessments in countries around the world," the state school board announced on Nov. 3 after voting to select AIR. "AIR has successfully supported Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)-compliant state assessment projects across the country in paper-pencil and online formats."

Previously, Arizona was a member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two federally funded consortia developing tests aligned to the common core. However, last March, the state began the process of developing and issuing a Request for Proposal for a new exam, and it subsquently left PARCC to avoid any conflict of interest. That RFP was issued in June. The PARCC consortium was free to bid to provide the new test.

The state board notes that AIR, in addition to delivering or signing contracts to deliver assessments in 14 states, also administered the field test of the Smarter Balanced common-core exam to 4 million students. 

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