AzMerit Incentive Program



The AzMerit Incentive Program was introduced on March 18, 2019 to help motivate kids to get prepared for the state standardized test, AzMerit. The program was structured so that the kids can get excited and motivated about studying for the tests in ways that inspire competition and peer support as well as teamwork. There are four different teams that are all based off of four different admirable character traits that are valued during testing times.

Those traits are Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, and Perseverance; but as for why those four traits are admirable during these times would be because you need all those traits so not only be successful in life but also during these sometimes frustrating times. You need courage to admit your mistakes to not only yourself but to others; wisdom because of the knowledge that’s accessible to help with the AzMerit that’s essential to passing. Perseverance because you have to keep going no matter the challenge and try until you feel you’ve done your best. As for humanity, this trait is important because sometimes we all need to remind ourselves that we are only human and cannot handle everything on our own; there are times that we need help, so lean on someone who helps you through it in a positive way.

There is a point system that feeds into the competition aspect of the program. Once a week, the teams gather outside to celebrate the team that had earned the most points in that week and to also recognize the students that earned the most points doing the Khan Academy.

Some of the prizes are the AZ Merit celebrations were gift cards to Dutch Bros.

One of the leaders of this program was Vicki Robinson, a middle school math teacher, who stated what she has been seeing recently in her classroom as a result of the program.

“The thing I noticed in my classroom was that students were helping each other because we were like okay, ‘if I know that you’re helping another student, your team will get a point’ and then they would help each other so they could get one,” Robinson said. “Even if they weren’t on the same team they were still helping each other. It really created a team atmosphere, especially with my second hour class, they were really into it and really motivated to get those points everyday and I hyped it up.”

It is important for the teacher to encourage the use of the points in the classroom because if the teachers don’t help get kids into the program then it will not work. Although it is expected for the middle schoolers to be more engaged in the program than the high schoolers.

Spanish teacher Sarah Victoria stated that the program was a little more challenging to introduce to the high school students.

“The program was difficult because I feel like high schoolers saw it as very gimmicky,” Victoria said. 

The AzMerit is a measurement that the state uses to grade our school. Once the tests are taken, over the summer, they[state] grade the results and then every school is given a letter grade, A through F, based on how the students in that school performed. Depending on whether they got a good grade or a bad grade. If it is a good grade, then you’re good to go, but if not then the state is required to step in and give the school a list of things it needs to do to bring the letter grade up so that it can continue to operate efficiently. So therefore, it is very important that the students do well on their AzMerit tests not only for the sake of their school and state but also for themselves because it still reflects on you whether it is in the grade book or not.

It is a thing the state requires the schools to do to prove to them that not only that the students are ready for the next grade level, but also that the school and teachers did a good job teaching what they needed to.

“One of the things we do on campus is teacher growth mindset, to teach students that failure doesn’t mean that you don’t keep trying, failure means that that’s your first attempt at learning and that every time you try to correct yourself or you try to learn more, you just continue to grow, your brain continues to grow so teaching that growth mindset and positive outlook is something we’ve really pushed,” Robinson said.

This is very important for students and people to know in general because it is good that kids at such young ages are learning this.

Freshman Makenzie Pearson shared why she enjoyed the incentive program.

¨I think it’s really cool because I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and this is so much like Harry Potter,¨ Pearson said. “I think it’s really cool that they’re using a competition to try and get us to study more, which I know that students typically don’t study unless they are told by the teacher and it is a grade.”

The program has similar attributes to movies and books that the children watch/read which is good because it shows that it motivates them to do better and study. Although this does not apply to everyone, it is a good example of ways that this program can relate to certain favorable aspects of children’s interests and use them to help them positively. Such as use some attributes from their favorite shows or movies that catch the interest of the kid which in turn perhaps makes them more interested in what is going on.