Taking aim on continuous improvement

On the state level, the new Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) results are not much better then they were last year.

That generalization does not hold true for our high school as our scores are much improved.

Camp Verde High School students took the tests in the spring of 2000 and again in the spring of 2001. They test in the areas of writing, mathematics, and reading. At the time these tests were given, they were necessary for graduating from high school. Today, these tests are not a graduation requirement, but are very important indicators that students have learned the state standards.

Our state standards are some of the strongest in the nation.

On the writing portion of the test, 73 percent of our 10th grade students met all the necessary requirements for correct writing and do not need to retake the writing test. In the spring of 2000, only 25 percent of our students met all requirements. In reading, 74 percent of our 10th graders meet or exceed the standard. Last year 46 percent of the students met or exceeded the standards in reading.

In mathematics, 22 percent of our 10th graders met the standard or exceeded the standard as opposed to 9 percent last year. Remember, as 10th graders the students have not had the necessary coursework to meet the state’s mathematics standards. We expect, after taking the necessary mathematics classes, our students will do as well as they do in writing and reading.

Our school district received over $475,000 for one of the largest reform grants in the nation. As part of this reform effort, our teachers worked together on committees to write the curricula based on the state standards. What we teach now matches what the state is testing. In addition, when writing lesson plans teachers identify which learner outcomes are being taught in the day’s lesson. This helps the teacher and administrator know that all the standards are being taught.

Teachers report that our students took the tests seriously and tried to do their best. Our teachers worked very hard to see that students were prepared to take these assessments. We don’t have the highest scores in the state, but we may have made the most improvement and we expect to continue to improve.

Congratulations to our staff and students on these results.

Marilyn M. Semones is the superintendent of the Camp Verde Unified School District.

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