School district spending analysis

Glossary of key terms

Throughout this analysis, we use certain key terms and categories when describing and analyzing school district spending. These terms and categories are from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which prescribes requirements for district and state reporting, providing the ability to compare individual Arizona school districts’ spending to Arizona peer districts’ averages and Arizona’s spending to national averages, as well as monitor Arizona’s and individual Arizona districts’ spending over time.1 Specifically, total spending represents a district’s combined operational and nonoperational spending, which are broken down by their respective areas below. Operational spending, which is the focus of the analysis on the State and individual district results pages, includes instructional spending as well as spending for student support, instruction support, administration, plant operations, food service, and transportation. The colors labeling each operational area below mirror the colors labeling the areas on the State and individual district results pages.

Total spending:

Total spending represents districts' combined operational spending and nonoperational spending.

Operational spending

Operational spending includes costs school districts incurred for their day-to-day operations in these 7 categories:

Instruction

Teachers, teachers’ aides, substitute teachers, graders, guest lecturers, general instructional supplies, instructional aids, field trips, athletics, cocurricular activities, and tuition

Student support

Counselors, audiologists, speech pathologists, nurses, social workers, and attendance services

Instruction support

Librarians, teacher training, curriculum development, special education directors, media specialists, and instruction-related technology services

Administration

Superintendents, principals, business managers, clerical, and other staff who perform accounting, payroll, purchasing, warehousing, printing, human resource activities, and administrative technology services; and other costs related to these services and the governing board

Plant operations

Equipment repair, building maintenance, custodial services, groundskeeping, and security; and costs for heating, cooling, lighting, and property insurance

Food service

Food supplies and other costs related to preparing, transporting, and serving meals and snacks

Transportation

Costs related to maintaining buses and transporting students to and from school and school activities

Nonoperational spending

Nonoperational spending includes costs school districts incurred to acquire capital assets (such as purchasing or leasing land, buildings, and equipment), interest, and programs such as adult education and community service that are outside the scope of preschool through grade 12 education but excludes principal payments on bond debt.2 Nonoperational spending includes costs in these 4 categories:

Land and buildings

Purchasing or leasing land and existing buildings, constructing and renovating school buildings, and improving school grounds

Equipment

Purchasing or leasing initial, additional, and replacement equipment, such as furniture, vehicles, and technology-related hardware and noninstructional software

Interest

Interest on long-term and short-term debt

Other

Remaining nonoperational spending, primarily consisting of adult education, community service programs, and civic activities
1
Since 2001, revisions in expenditure-reporting requirements or clarifications were made to the Arizona Uniform Chart of Accounts for school districts to comply with changes made to the federal chart of accounts or other federal and State reporting requirement changes. Our definitions of key terms and categories have followed these requirements.
2
We include the expenditures districts make with bond revenues for the acquisition or improvement of capital assets in nonoperational spending, but we exclude the principal payments districts make to repay the bond debt so as not to double-count expenditures in total spending.

County

Our analysis of Arizona Department of Education (ADE)-provided county data. For district boundaries encompassing more than 1 county, the county in which the district office resides is presented.

Operational peer group

To compare districts’ operational spending, we developed operational peer groups. See the District peer groups section below.

Other peer groups

To compare districts’ transportation spending and student assessment passage rates, we developed transportation and achievement peer groups. See the District peer groups section below.

Legislative district(s)

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission adopted new legislative district boundaries on January 21, 2022. We used these new boundaries when determining each school district’s assigned legislative district(s) using 2020 Census Block data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Location

Our analysis of the NCES’ FY 2022 (the most recent year for available data) urbanicity designations based on districts’ proximity to population clusters. The 4 main categories are city, suburb, town, and rural.

Number of schools

Our analysis of ADE-provided, district-reported attending average daily membership (ADM) reports and Arizona Department of Administration's School Facilities Oversight Board (ADOA-SFOB) district-wide building reports.

Students attending

Our analysis of ADE-provided, district-reported attending ADM. ADM numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Size

District sizes were categorized as follows:

Size Students attending
Very small Fewer than 200
Small 200 to 499
Medium-small 500 to 1,199
Medium 1,200 to 1,999
Medium-large 2,000 to 5,999
Large 6,000 to 14,999
Very-large 15,000+

5-year change in students attending

Our analysis of ADE-provided, district-reported attending ADM for FYs 2018 and 2023.

Special education population

Our analysis of ADE-provided, district-reported special education unduplicated attending ADM. The district and State percentages were calculated by dividing special education attending ADM by total students attending.

English learner population

Our analysis of ADE-provided, district-reported English learner unduplicated attending ADM. The district and State percentages were calculated by dividing English learner attending ADM by total students attending.

Poverty rate

Our analysis of U.S. Census Bureau FY 2022 (the most recent year for available data) Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates published in December 2023. District and State poverty rates were calculated by dividing the number of children 5 to 17 years old who were living at or below the federal poverty level by the total number of children 5 to 17 years old living in the district or State.

Graduation rate

For districts serving high school students, the FY 2022 (the most recent year for available data) 4-year cohort graduation rates obtained from ADE in September 2023. The State average is the FY 2022 graduation rate reported by ADE.

Operational peer groups

To compare districts’ administration, plant operations, and food service spending and related measures relative to peer group averages, we developed operational peer groups using district size, type, and location because these factors are associated with school districts’ spending and related measures in these areas. The 7 district size categories are defined above in the District demographic information section. The 2 district type categories are elementary and union high school/unified. We grouped union high school districts with unified districts because both districts serve high school students. The 2 location categories are cities/suburbs and town/rural areas based on district location. Considering these 3 factors, we created 12 operational peer groups to compare district spending and related measures for administration, plant operations, and food service operations. These peer groups are labeled Operational 1 through 12, and each includes between 9 and 58 districts.
Operational peer group 1
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Size
Very large
Number of districts
11
Operational peer group 2
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Size
Large
Number of districts
11
Operational peer group 3
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Size
Medium-large, Medium, and Medium-small
Number of districts
13
Operational peer group 4
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Large and Medium-large
Number of districts
17
Operational peer group 5
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Medium
Number of districts
17
Operational peer group 6
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Medium-small
Number of districts
16
Operational peer group 7
Type
Unified and Union High School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Small
Number of districts
16
Operational peer group 8
Type
Elementary School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Size
Very large and Large
Number of districts
12
Operational peer group 9
Type
Elementary School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Size
Medium-large, Medium, and Medium-small
Number of districts
17
Operational peer group 10
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Medium-large, Medium, and Medium-small
Number of districts
10
Operational peer group 11
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Small
Number of districts
9
Operational peer group 12
Type
Elementary School, Unified, and Union High School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Size
Very small
Number of districts
58
Operational peer group number Type Location Size Number of districts
1 Unified and Union High School Cities and suburbs Very large 11
2 Unified and Union High School Cities and suburbs Large 11
3 Unified and Union High School Cities and suburbs Medium-large, Medium, and Medium-small 13
4 Unified and Union High School Towns and rural areas Large and Medium-large 17
5 Unified and Union High School Towns and rural areas Medium 17
6 Unified and Union High School Towns and rural areas Medium-small 16
7 Unified and Union High School Towns and rural areas Small 16
8 Elementary School Cities and suburbs Very large and Large 12
9 Elementary School Cities and suburbs Medium-large, Medium, and Medium-small 17
10 Elementary School Towns and rural areas Medium-large, Medium, and Medium-small 10
11 Elementary School Towns and rural areas Small 9
12 Elementary School, Unified, and Union High School Towns and rural areas Very small 58

Transportation peer groups

To compare districts’ transportation spending measures relative to peer group averages, we developed transportation peer groups using location and miles per rider because these factors are associated with school districts’ transportation spending measures. We grouped together districts based on district location and miles per rider using an average of districts’ miles per rider in FYs 2018 through 2023, excluding FY 2021 data, which we determined was not suitable for peer comparison due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on districts’ transportation operations. Considering these factors, we created 11 transportation peer groups to compare district operations in transportation. These peer groups are labeled Transportation 1 through 11, and each includes between 12 and 53 districts. For Transportation 11, we grouped all very small districts regardless of the average miles per rider because of the highly variable spending patterns associated with their very small size.
Transportation peer group 1
Location
Cities and suburbs
Miles per rider
Less than 195
Number of districts
12
Transportation peer group 2
Location
Cities and suburbs
Miles per rider
195 to 250
Number of districts
12
Transportation peer group 3
Location
Cities and suburbs
Miles per rider
251 to 300
Number of districts
14
Transportation peer group 4
Location
Cities and suburbs
Miles per rider
301 to 405
Number of districts
13
Transportation peer group 5
Location
Cities and suburbs
Miles per rider
More than 405
Number of districts
13
Transportation peer group 6
Location
Towns and rural areas
Miles per rider
Less than 270
Number of districts
18
Transportation peer group 7
Location
Towns and rural areas
Miles per rider
270 to 340
Number of districts
16
Transportation peer group 8
Location
Towns and rural areas
Miles per rider
341 to 515
Number of districts
18
Transportation peer group 9
Location
Towns and rural areas
Miles per rider
516 to 750
Number of districts
16
Transportation peer group 10
Location
Towns and rural areas
Miles per rider
More than 750
Number of districts
17
Transportation peer group 11
Location
Towns and rural areas
Miles per rider
N/A
Number of districts
53
Transportation peer group number Location Miles per rider Number of districts
1 Cities and suburbs Less than 195 12
2 Cities and suburbs 195 to 250 12
3 Cities and suburbs 251 to 300 14
4 Cities and suburbs 301 to 405 13
5 Cities and suburbs More than 405 13
6 Towns and rural areas Less than 270 18
7 Towns and rural areas 270 to 340 16
8 Towns and rural areas 341 to 515 18
9 Towns and rural areas 516 to 750 16
10 Towns and rural areas More than 750 17
11 Towns and rural areas N/A 53

Achievement peer groups

To compare districts’ student assessment passage rates relative to peer group averages, we developed student achievement peer groups using the 3 district type categories—elementary, union high school, and unified—to ensure consistency between student populations being compared. We further developed student achievement peer groups using poverty rates and location because these factors are associated with school districts’ passage rates on State assessments. Considering these factors, we created 17 achievement peer groups to compare student assessment passage rates. These peer groups are labeled Achievement 1 through 17, and each includes between 6 and 18 districts. If a district’s passage rate is not presented, it is not included in the peer group average. For reasons why a district’s passage rate may not be presented, see the Student achievement section.
Achievement peer group 1
Type
Unified
Location
Cities and suburbs
Poverty rate
13% or less
Number of districts
18
Achievement peer group 2
Type
Unified
Location
Cities and suburbs
Poverty rate
14% or higher
Number of districts
9
Achievement peer group 3
Type
Unified
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
Less than 16%
Number of districts
14
Achievement peer group 4
Type
Unified
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
16% or higher, but less than 23%
Number of districts
14
Achievement peer group 5
Type
Unified
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
23% or higher, but less than 29%
Number of districts
14
Achievement peer group 6
Type
Unified
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
29% or higher, but less than 33%
Number of districts
15
Achievement peer group 7
Type
Unified
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
33% or higher
Number of districts
14
Achievement peer group 8
Type
Union High School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Poverty rate
19% or less
Number of districts
8
Achievement peer group 9
Type
Union High School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
30% or less
Number of districts
6
Achievement peer group 10
Type
Elementary School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Poverty rate
15% or less
Number of districts
11
Achievement peer group 11
Type
Elementary School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Poverty rate
16% or higher, but less than 23%
Number of districts
10
Achievement peer group 12
Type
Elementary School
Location
Cities and suburbs
Poverty rate
23% or higher
Number of districts
8
Achievement peer group 13
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
Less than 15%
Number of districts
11
Achievement peer group 14
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
15% or higher, but less than 23%
Number of districts
16
Achievement peer group 15
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
23% or higher, but less than 29%
Number of districts
17
Achievement peer group 16
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
29% or higher, but less than 37%
Number of districts
11
Achievement peer group 17
Type
Elementary School
Location
Towns and rural areas
Poverty rate
37% or higher
Number of districts
11
Achievement peer group number Type Location Poverty rate Number of districts
1 Unified Cities and suburbs 13% or less 18
2 Unified Cities and suburbs 14% or higher 9
3 Unified Towns and rural areas Less than 16% 14
4 Unified Towns and rural areas 16% or higher, but less than 23% 14
5 Unified Towns and rural areas 23% or higher, but less than 29% 14
6 Unified Towns and rural areas 29% or higher, but less than 33% 15
7 Unified Towns and rural areas 33% or higher 14
8 Union High School Cities and suburbs 19% or less 8
9 Union High School Towns and rural areas 30% or less 6
10 Elementary School Cities and suburbs 15% or less 11
11 Elementary School Cities and suburbs 16% or higher, but less than 23% 10
12 Elementary School Cities and suburbs 23% or higher 8
13 Elementary School Towns and rural areas Less than 15% 11
14 Elementary School Towns and rural areas 15% or higher, but less than 23% 16
15 Elementary School Towns and rural areas 23% or higher, but less than 29% 17
16 Elementary School Towns and rural areas 29% or higher, but less than 37% 11
17 Elementary School Towns and rural areas 37% or higher 11
To see a full listing of the districts included in each peer group, see our downloadable data file on the Resources page. Some districts are excluded from the peer average for certain operational and transportation measures because their outlying values would skew the peer average. The following districts are excluded from the peer average for all operational and transportation measures because their outlying values would skew the peer average: Baboquivari USD, Cedar USD, Chinle USD, Fountain Hills USD, Grand Canyon USD, Kayenta USD, Owens-Whitney ESD, Peach Springs USD, Phoenix ESD, Piñon USD, Red Mesa USD, Roosevelt ESD, Sacaton ESD, Sanders USD, Sentinel ESD, and Tucson USD. Further, if we determined that a district’s information for a specific measure is not reliable (NR), we excluded it from peer averages for measures using that data.

Spending by operational area

Our analysis of spending in each operational area divided by total operational spending, using district-reported accounting data and Annual Financial Reports (AFRs). The peer average instructional spending percentages were calculated by adding individual districts’ instructional spending percentages and dividing by the number of districts in each peer group. No districts were excluded from the peer average for this specific measure. District classroom spending percentages were calculated by adding each district’s instructional, student support, and instruction support percentages. The nonclassroom spending percentages were calculated by adding each district’s administration, plant operations, food service, and transportation percentages.

On the State results page, we include a comparison of the State's FY 2021 spending by operational area to the national spending percentages by operational area for FY 2021, the most recent national data available. Additionally, we include a breakdown of the State’s spending in the nonclassroom areas of administration, plant operations, food service, and transportation by category to help provide additional context as to what districts are generally spending on when allocating monies to those areas.

Instructional spending percentage highlights

Our analysis of instructional spending percentages calculated for FYs 2001 through 2023. When a district’s lowest or highest percentage value occurred in multiple years, the most recent year was reported.

Percentage point change in spending by area

Our analysis of the change in the percentage spent in each operational area between FYs 2018 and 2023, and between FYs 2022 and 2023.

Per student spending by area

  • District

    Our analysis of FYs 2022 and 2023 operational and nonoperational spending divided by students attending.

  • Peer average

    Our analysis of operational peer districts’ per student spending. The peer group averages exclude districts with outlying or unreliable values and were calculated by averaging individual districts’ per student spending in each operational and nonoperational area.

  • State average

    Our analysis of FYs 2018, 2022 and 2023 operational and nonoperational spending for all districts divided by the total students attending for the State.

  • National average

    NCES’ FY 2021 data, the most recently available national data.

Operational measures relative to peer averages

We compared some district operational spending measures to operational and transportation peer group averages. We identified whether the district’s spending measures were very low/very high, low/high, or comparable to its peer averages and indicated the determination by a color bar for each spending measure. The operational measures and relativity to peer group averages are explained in more detail below. In addition, for the 58 very small districts, we provided comparative information but did not identify the relativity with a color bar because these districts’ spending patterns are highly variable and therefore result in less meaningful group averages. The peer averages were calculated by averaging individual districts’ numbers for each measure. Some districts were excluded from peer averages for certain operational measures because their extreme values would skew the peer average. The following criteria were used to determine the operational measures relative to peer averages:
  • Very high—Higher than the peer average by more than 15 percent.
  • High—Higher than the peer average by 5.01 to 15 percent.
  • Comparable—Within 5 percent of the peer average.
  • Low—Lower than the peer average by 5.01 to 15 percent.
  • Very low—Lower than the peer average by more than 15 percent.

Administration

  • Spending per student

    Our analysis of administrative spending divided by students attending.
  • Students per administrative position

    Students attending divided by the number of administrative full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), using ADE-provided, district-reported information on the School District Employee Report (SDER).

Plant operations

  • Spending per square foot

    Our analysis of plant operations and maintenance spending divided by the total square footage, using ADOA-SFOB-provided, district-wide square footage totals.
  • Square footage per student

    Our analysis of the total square footage divided by students attending, using SFOB-provided, district-wide square footage totals.

Food service

  • Spending per meal

    Our analysis of food service spending divided by the total number of meals served, using district-reported accounting data and AFRs.
  • Meals per student

    Our analysis of the total number of meals served divided by students attending, using district-reported AFRs.

Transportation

  • Spending per mile

    Our analysis of transportation spending divided by the total miles driven, using ADE-provided, district-reported transportation route reports.
  • Spending per rider

    Our analysis of transportation spending divided by the total eligible riders transported, using ADE-provided, district-reported transportation route reports.
To help users understand the average teacher salary and average base salary that we calculated and reported on, we have included the table below that includes information about the 4 main components of teacher salary payments and whether the component is included as part of our calculated average teacher salary or average base salary amounts for districts.
Base salary
Description
The primary component of a teacher’s salary directly associated with teaching duties. Some districts may consider years of experience, grade-level, or other factors when determining base salary amounts.
Included in average teacher salary?
Yes
Included in average base salary?
Yes
Performance pay
Description
This component of a teacher’s salary is usually variable, and the amount a teacher receives is based on the teacher meeting defined performance goals.
Included in average teacher salary?
Yes
Included in average base salary?
No
Payments not related to additional duties
Description
Instead of making changes to a teacher’s base salary, some districts may choose to provide additional one-time payments to teachers, commonly referred to as stipends. Examples include stipends for retention, hard-to-fill positions, certification endorsements, and incentive payments. Although some teachers may receive these amounts multiple years in a row if monies are available, they are separately identifiable from and paid in addition to the teacher’s base pay.
Included in average teacher salary?
Yes
Included in average base salary?
No
Payments related to additional duties
Description
A teacher may have opportunities to receive additional payments for performing duties in addition to their primary teaching duties. These payments are dependent on the teacher performing additional duties and therefore are not included in our assessment of average teacher salaries or average base salaries. Examples of duties teachers may agree to perform for these additional payments include tutoring, advising students clubs or coaching sports, serving as department chairs, and teaching classes beyond base contract requirements.
Included in average teacher salary?
No
Included in average base salary?
No
Component Description Included in average teacher salary? Included in average base salary?
Base salary The primary component of a teacher’s salary directly associated with teaching duties. Some districts may consider years of experience, grade-level, or other factors when determining base salary amounts. Yes Yes
Performance pay This component of a teacher’s salary is usually variable, and the amount a teacher receives is based on the teacher meeting defined performance goals. Yes No
Payments not related to additional duties Instead of making changes to a teacher’s base salary, some districts may choose to provide additional one-time payments to teachers, commonly referred to as stipends. Examples include stipends for retention, hard-to-fill positions, certification endorsements, and incentive payments. Although some teachers may receive these amounts multiple years in a row if monies are available, they are separately identifiable from and paid in addition to the teacher’s base pay. Yes No
Payments related to additional duties A teacher may have opportunities to receive additional payments for performing duties in addition to their primary teaching duties. These payments are dependent on the teacher performing additional duties and therefore are not included in our assessment of average teacher salaries or average base salaries. Examples of duties teachers may agree to perform for these additional payments include tutoring, advising students clubs or coaching sports, serving as department chairs, and teaching classes beyond base contract requirements. No No

Average teacher salary

Our analysis of total operational spending for certified teacher salaries (excluding salaries for substitute teachers) for FYs 2017 through 2022 from district-reported accounting data and the total number of certified teacher FTEs from district-reported Classroom Site Fund (CSF) Narrative Results Summaries (Narratives). For FY 2023, we used district-reported total salary payments and FTEs from districts’ AFRs, unless a district indicated that its district-reported accounting data and/or SDER teacher FTE were more accurate. The average teacher salary is based on total salaries paid related to teaching duties, including CSF monies, but does not include any salaries paid for additional duties such as cocurricular activities and athletics. The district and State averages were calculated by dividing the total teacher salaries by the total certified teacher FTEs. We do not provide average teacher salary information for the year(s) in which the district's data is not reliable.

Amount from CSF

Our analysis of the total CSF monies for FYs 2017 through 2022 spent on teacher salaries and the total number of certified teacher FTEs from district-reported accounting data and Narratives. For FY 2023, we used district-reported FTE from AFRs unless a district indicated that its teacher FTE numbers from SDER were more accurate. The district and State averages were calculated by totaling the CSF amount paid to teachers and dividing by the total certified teacher FTEs.

Questions related to teacher payments for prior classroom experience

Our analysis of district-reported responses to questions in the AFR related to whether districts pay teachers for prior classroom experience outside the district and whether those payments are made to teachers as part of their base pay, i.e., base pay amounts increase based on years of experience, or separately in addition to base pay, i.e., as a stipend or bonus.

Average years of teacher experience

Our analysis of district-reported certified teacher FTEs and years of experience obtained from ADE for FYs 2017 through 2023. The years of experience includes the actual, uncapped number of years of experience for each certified teacher. The district and State years of experience were calculated by dividing the total number of years of experience by the total certified teacher FTEs.

Percentage of teachers in first 3 years

Our analysis of district-reported certified teacher FTEs and years of experience from SDER for FYs 2017 through 2022. FY 2023 percentage was calculated using the district-reported FTEs from AFRs, unless a district indicated its teacher FTE numbers from SDER were more accurate. The district and State percentages were calculated by dividing the number of certified teachers in their first 3 years by the total number of certified teachers.

Average base salary of teachers in their first 3 years

Our analysis of FY 2023 district-reported salaries paid for teaching duties, not including performance pay or additional amounts paid in addition to a base salary for experience or other qualifications, and district-reported certified teachers FTE for teachers in their first 3 years from AFRs, unless a district indicated its teacher FTE numbers from SDER were more accurate. The district and State averages were calculating by dividing the total base salary payments to teachers in their first 3 years by the total number of certified teacher FTEs in their first 3 years.

Percentage of teachers in their 4th year or later

Our analysis of district-reported certified teacher FTEs from AFRs for FY 2023, unless a district indicated its reported amounts in SDER were more accurate. The district and State percentages were calculated by dividing the number of certified teachers in their 4th year or later of teaching by the total number of certified teachers.

Average base salary of teachers in their 4th year or later

Our analysis of FY 2023 district-reported salaries paid for teaching duties, not including performance pay or additional amounts paid in addition to a base salary for experience or other qualifications, and district-reported certified teachers FTEs for teachers in their 4th year or later from AFRs, unless a district indicated its teacher FTE numbers from SDER were more accurate. The district and State averages were calculating by dividing the total base salary payments to teachers in their 4th year or later by the number of certified teacher FTEs in their 4th year or later.

Students per teacher

Our analysis of students attending and certified teacher FTEs, including special-area teachers such as art, music, and physical education, as reported by districts on their Narratives for FYs 2017 through 2022. For FY 2023, we used district-reported FTE from AFRs unless a district indicated that its teacher FTE numbers from SDER were more accurate. The district and State ratios were calculated by dividing total students attending by total certified teacher FTEs. Students per teacher is not intended to represent class size because it includes special-area teachers. School districts are not required to report grade-level or core class sizes separately, which is why instead we report students per teacher. This way of reporting aligns with the methodology used by NCES.

For all assessments except Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) Science, passing is defined as scoring proficient or highly proficient. For AIMS Science, passing is defined as meeting or exceeding standards. For all assessments, results were aggregated across grade levels and different assessments for the same subject, as applicable. We report a district’s student assessment passage rate consistent with ADE’s publicly available data file, and therefore, some individual districts’ results may not be available due to ADE’s redaction standards.

Percentage of students who passed State assessments for FY 2023

Our analysis of the Arizona’s Academic Standards Assessment (AASA) Math and English Language Arts (ELA) assessment results, the Arizona’s Science Test (AzSCI) assessment results, and the Menu of Assessments State administration of the ACT for Math or ELA assessment results obtained from ADE in December 2023.
  • District

    Total number of students who passed State assessments divided by the total number of students tested. This measure is calculated by ADE and reported in its publicly available student assessment data, and some individual districts’ results may not be available due to ADE’s redaction standards.

  • Peer

    Each individual district’s number of students attending within the peer group, multiplied by the percentage of students who passed State assessments at that district, added together and divided by the total number of students attending in the peer group.

  • State

    Total number of students State-wide who passed State assessments, including district, charter, and alternative schools divided by the total number of students tested State-wide. This measure is calculated by ADE and reported in its publicly available student assessment data.

Percentage of students who passed State assessments for FYs 2019 through 2022

The State-wide percentages were calculated by dividing the total number of students who passed State assessments by the total number of students tested. State-wide percentages include students at district, charter, and alternative schools.
  • FY 2019

    Our analysis of AzMERIT Math and ELA assessment results, AIMS Science assessment results, and the Menu of Assessments State administration of the ACT and the SAT for Math, ELA, or Science assessment results obtained from ADE in October 2019 and January 2020.

  • FY 2020

    Data not available because school districts were exempted from conducting State assessments due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related State-wide school closures in March 2020.

  • FY 2021

    Data not presented because not all eligible students participated in testing, and some districts did not administer State assessments at all or at all schools because of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on district operations.

  • FY 2022

    Our analysis of the AASA Math and ELA assessment results, the AzSCI assessment results, and the Menu of Assessments State administration of the ACT for Math or ELA assessment results obtained from ADE in February 2023.