All city high schools now meeting federal standards
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 29, 2005
PHOENIX - Cesar Chavez, South Mountain and Central high schools are meeting
federal standards for upping student test scores, according to a recent ruling
by the state Department of Education.
The ruling reversed a previous designation that said the three schools failed to
make Adequate Yearly Progress for 2005. Now all 11 of the city's high schools
meet the mandates under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which tracks
student progress nationwide using annual test scores.
To make Adequate Yearly Progress, schools must test 95 percent of their students
and increase the overall percentage of students passing the state's annual AIMS
exam, or Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards. Also, they must increase the
percentage passing within smaller groups of students, such as students living in
poverty or still learning English.
Elementary schools must have a 90 percent attendance rate and high schools a
71 percent graduation rate or be making progress toward that. If schools miss
the mark in any one of the many categories, they fail. Schools failing for two
years running face government intervention and possible loss of federal funds.
In September, the Phoenix schools were notified by state officials that they had
failed, said Craig Pletenik, district spokesman. But district officials found
discrepancies in the data and asked the state to review the matter.
At Chavez High, for example, failing hinged on just four students. The initial
data showed that 94 percent of Anglo 10th-graders took AIMS, not the required 95
It turned out that two of the students listed as Anglo were Hispanic. One Anglo
boy did not take the test, but a second did, though his results were not
recorded for some reason.
With the boy's exam duly recorded, and the two Hispanic students correctly
identified, the school did meet the required 95 percent of Anglo students taking
Staff at Central High tracked down students who moved to new schools but had
been listed as dropouts, which upped the school's rate.
And at South Mountain High, state records showed that eight students in special
education did not take AIMS, though school officials and the students' parents
had their test results.
It turned out that someone at the school filled out the student identification