PHOENIX - More than 3,000 students who will be seniors this coming year
should be exempt from having to pass the AIMS test to graduate, an attorney
for some parents said Monday.
Tim Hogan wants U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins of Tucson to block
the state from enforcing the graduation requirement on students who are
classified by the state as "English language learners." These are students
who come to school speaking another language and are not proficient in
In legal papers filed in federal court, Hogan said Arizona is not in
compliance with a court order to provide adequate funding to educate all of
its English learners.
"Requiring ELLs to pass an achievement test to graduate when they have been
denied the equal participation guaranteed to them under federal law is
patently unfair," Hogan wrote.
In fact, Hogan wants Collins to bar the use of AIMS as a graduation
requirement for ELL students not only for this coming school year but for
several years to come.
Margaret Garcia-Dugan, the deputy state schools superintendent, said her
agency will oppose the move.
AIMS, short for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards, is actually three
tests designed to measure proficiency in reading, writing and math. They are
administered at several points during a student's education. Beginning with
the Class of 2006, students must pass the last battery of tests to get a
About 3,000 English learners took the most recent test, administered last
spring, and 80 percent failed to pass one or more sections.
Garcia-Dugan said it would be better to have these students kept back for
another year of education than to give them diplomas.