Loophole let 3,400 clear AIMS hurdle
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 23, 2007

Pat Kossan

More than 3,400 seniors picked up a diploma in the spring to the applause of smiling family members even though all had failed Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards.

The loophole that allowed them to graduate will disappear next spring, potentially increasing by several thousand the number who are denied a diploma. The lucky kids in this year's class were able to augment their AIMS scores by earning a "C" or above in any course, including electives.
Lawmakers have not renewed that benefit.

The bonus didn't help 525 seniors in the class of 2007 who had enough credits to graduate but didn't because they couldn't pass the exam, even with extra points. About 225 of them had stayed in high school for a fifth year to finish their classes.

Two years ago, the state required high school graduates to pass AIMS, which they can take up to five times.

In spring 2006, 332 fourth- and fifth-year seniors completed classes but didn't get a diploma because they failed AIMS. That year, lawmakers allowed bonus points only if students completed 11 core classes with at least a "C"
grade. The break helped 2,855 kids get a diploma.