Seniors who can't pass the AIMS test by the time
they're supposed to graduate may now keep taking
it, over and over, the state Board of Education
means students who fail one or more of the AIMS
segments would complete the 12th grade and be
out of school but still would have the option to
take the test again. Those additional
opportunities are designed to aid youngsters who
are juniors this year: They cannot get a diploma
unless - and until - they pass AIMS.
new policy, devised by state School
Superintendent Tom Horne, is not getting
plaudits from school administrators. They are
crafting their own proposal to create a
two-tiered diploma system: one for students who
pass AIMS, and one for those who try but fail.
members of the Arizona School Administrators
Association intend to take their plan not to the
Board of Education, but to the Legislature next
reflect concern that a number of seniors will
not be able to pass the math, writing and
reading sections of the test, Arizona's
Instrument to Measure Standards.
originally was supposed to be a graduation
requirement for the Class of 2002. But a high
failure rate led the Board of Education to delay
that deadline until the 2006 class.
scores, however, have not gotten much better.
About 40 percent of students who were sophomores
when they took the test last spring failed the
reading and writing sections. The percentage of
students who did not pass the math portion
exceeded 60 percent.
refuses to support further delay. But he has
acknowledged that 10 percent of seniors might
Smith, who lobbies for the school
administrators, said that translates to about
7,600 seniors - a number that could prove
administrators' plan would create a "general
diploma" as an alternative.
require that students successfully complete all
their course work, said Roger Pfeuffer, interim
superintendent of Tucson Unified School
District. They also would have to take the AIMS
test each time it was offered and have 90
percent or better school attendance.
would require students to have participated in
remedial course work when offered.
really doesn't seem to be any good solution to
this," Pfeuffer said. But he said the dual
diploma would create "a framework that's
said letting students get a diploma without
proving by passing AIMS they have mastered the
subjects would remove incentive to study and do
well on the test.
contends the AIMS test accurately measures what
students are expected to have learned during
their 12 years of school. Pfeuffer disagrees,
calling the standards "unrealistic," especially
administrators' plan is designed to provide some
incentive for students to continue to try to
pass the AIMS test, even if were no longer a
graduation requirement: Anyone who passed all
three sections would not have to take the SAT,
ACT or any other college-entrance exam to gain
admission to a state university.
another flaw in the state board's decision to
allow graduates to keep taking the test until
they pass: There is no state funding for special
courses to help students who have not passed the
test by graduation day, lobbyist Smith said.
funding for tutoring would have to come from the
Legislature - something he intends to request