Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation this week to eliminate the AIMS test - including the graduation requirement - paving the way for something else to measure the new Common Core standards. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
The state has been implementing Common Core now for years. It is essentially a set of standards of what students should know at given points in their education. More significant, these are national standards that will be measured by a national test. And that allows a direct comparison of how students here are doing compared to counterparts elsewhere.
Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said that's important. "We know that in the future economy Arizona students are going to be up against their peers nationally and internationally," Benson said. "And so we need to know how they're competing, how they stack up. And the new test is going to allow us to get that information."
Governor Brewer was critical of the AIMS tests which are administered not only at the lower grades but also have been a graduation requirement since 2006. She said AIMS relies on rote memorization while the new test, yet to be approved by the State Board of Education, will measure critical thinking and problem-solving ability. The change is not immediate. Current seniors and juniors still have to pass AIMS to receive a diploma, with any new test kicking in for those who are now sophomores.