State Capitol News
4:30 pm
Wed May 6, 2009

Arizona urged to keep AIMS test

Phoenix, AZ – A special panel is recommending today that the state keep the
AIMS tests as a requirement to graduate.

The panel concluded that the tests do play a valid role in
determining if high schoolers have learned certain academic
skills. But committee chairman Jim Zaharis said the tests in
reading, writing and math go only so far.

(What it does not do is measure college and career readiness. So
students can be passing AIMS and still not know where they are
relative to the next step. And so this is a benchmark for college
career readiness, hopefully being defined as that critical core
of skills to go to the next step without remediation.)

This new test would be administered in 11th grade. But students
could opt out with a note from a parent. And unlike AIMS, passage
would not be required to get a diploma. The task force also wants
a new test for ninth graders to determine at that level what they
know. But Zaharis said the results of that test would not be used
to counsel some students that maybe they shouldn't be thinking
about college.

(The decision remains in the student and the family's hands, not
in the school people's hands, as to what they wish to do. This is
feedback for them to make decisions. But it is not to put them on
a path that is prescribed by a school.)

Rep. Rich Crandall, who sought the report, said he may try to
push for the necessary legislative changes this session.