Mandatory Assessments

The State of Arizona mandates that every student educated with Arizona’s public funds participate in state assessments. Arizona’s state assessments are administered to students enrolled in 3rd grade through high school. All students enrolled in schools funded by the state of Arizona must participate in the assessments, including all students with disabilities and all students identified as English Language Learners.


AzMERIT is aligned to Arizona’s state learning standards, which detail what students should be able to do at each grade level. The test is designed to measure student learning and progress toward readiness for college or career.

AIMS Science

AIMS Science is a standards based assessment that measures student proficiency of the Arizona Academic Content Standard in Science. It meets federal requirements for student assessment. It is administered in the spring to students in grades four, eight, and high school.

Formative Assessments

Each grade level, as a whole, gives formative tests that are assessments measuring mastery of Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. We give the assessments every one to two weeks on specific objectives within each standard we teach in class. San Carlos Unified School District designates a student’s performance level based on 80% mastery of the weekly or bi-weekly standard. Each formative assessment consists of five questions that are different for each grade level. Whether the student is above or below 80% correct, or three out of the five questions, determines if they will attend a daily reteach or enrich class for that standard. Students take the formative tests throughout each school quarter. We reassess the skills on the quarterly benchmark assessments, which provide immediate and useful feedback for the teachers to improve instructional practices.

Benchmark Assessments

Benchmark assessments are quarterly assessments given to all students in first through twelfth grades. PowerSchool Assessment constructs all benchmark tests and aligns the tests to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards required for state testing. Once we receive the data from the quarterly benchmarks, we determine the performance of each student, each class, and each grade level. We analyze the data from the benchmarks to determine which students are meeting the standards, approaching the standards, and falling far below the standards. This will allow us to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum and instruction implemented in the classroom. Based on the immediately available quarterly data, teachers are able to efficiently modify their instruction to increase student achievement.

What is DIBELS?

DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. The test is given by an adult to a student one at a time and takes five to ten minutes to administer. During the session, students perform brief literacy activities that are timed for one minute each. Students perform tasks such as name letters, identify sounds, read words, read short passages, and tell about passages they have read.

DIBELS is not a speed-reading test. Data from the assessment informs the teacher which students are progressing at the expected rate, which students need strategic support to be successful readers, and which students are at risk and need substantial support.

DIBELS is testing three times a year: August, January, and May.