My Turn: Taking aim on AIMS

Moms, dads, and guardians, it’s time to mark your calendar with these important dates: Feb. 23, Feb. 24, April 7 and April 8.

Why are these dates important, you may ask? These are the AIMS testing dates for the school year 2010. The first two dates, Feb. 23-24 are for the writing and reading tests that all sophomores are required to take and ultimately pass in order to graduate from high school.

April 7-8 are the testing dates for math and science. High school students who do not meet or exceed the standard must retake the tests (science at this time is not included in the retakes) until the standards in that subject area are met. Each student will have five opportunities to take the AIMS. Ninth graders are required to take the Stafford Ten on April 7-8.

The Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) is a test designed to measure each student’s progress in learning the Arizona Academic Standards. The Arizona Academic Standards define what students should know and be able to demonstrate at various stages of K-12 education.

AIMS serves many stakeholders, each of whom will use the information from the assessment for different purposes. Parents and students need to know how well the student performed to plan the student’s academic needs and schedule.

Teachers use AIMS information for instructional planning. School and district administrators use AIMS data to judge how well their curriculum is aligned to the Arizona Academic Standards and where to focus instructional improvement.

Beginning with the class of 2006, Arizona high school students must “Meet” the content standards in Reading, Mathematics and Writing in order to receive a diploma. Students in Mingus Union High School must also meet graduation requirements as specified in the High School Handbook 2009 - 2010.

AIMS scores are reported in terms of one of four performance levels, according to the student’s test performance. The State Board of Education has set these performance levels as: Falls Far Below, Approaches, Meets the Standard, and Exceeds.

Students who Exceed AIMS in all three areas by the end of their junior year may qualify for a full state university tuition scholarship (in-state tuition only) valid for one year following graduation from high school. The scholarship is fixed and renewable for an additional three years based upon university-determined criteria. The actual dollar amount of the scholarship will vary based upon the tuition charged by the state university in which they have enrolled.

For more information concerning AIMS testing and the Arizona Tuition Scholarship please contact any one of our counselors at 649-4402, or go to www.ade.az.gov and click on AIMS Information Center.

Marc Cooper is the Principal at Mingus Union High School.

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