My Turn: April’s target: taking aim on AIMS

The month of April will soon be upon us and this is a very important month for Arizona schools. It is a month to recognize student achievement. Students will be given the opportunity to show off their academic abilities and brag about the knowledge they have gained after another year of instruction.

April is the month of AIMS/Stanford 10 testing for children in the state of Arizona and for Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District.

AIMS stands for the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards. AIMS measures which academic standards the students know in the content areas of writing, reading, mathematics, and science. The results of the test will show which academic standards students have mastered and which ones they still need to work on. There have been a couple of changes this year with AIMS testing.

As usual, grades 3-8 will be taking the reading and mathematics portion. Due to budget constraints, AIMS writing in grades 3, 4 and 8 have been temporarily suspended. For spring of 2010 AIMS writing will only be administered in grades 5, 6, 7 and high school. Students will be tested on the new Arizona Math Standards this year. Grades 4th and 8th will be taking the science portion. Second grade students do not take the AIMS, they will be taking the Stanford 10 assessment. Content areas tested for Stanford 10 are reading, language, and mathematics.

The AIMS test will be administered to Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District children from April 12-16. Parents, during this time, it is very important for your child to attend school each day. This is a mandatory test and it is important for your child to have this opportunity to shine.

What can you do to help your child?

• Participate in your child’s learning activities

• Read aloud to your child, beginning at an early age

• Encourage good study habits

• Set aside a specific time for homework

• Provide a quiet, well-lighted place for your child to study

• Communicate often with your child’s teachers

• Talk to your child often about school

• Require regular school attendance

• Emphasize the importance of academic achievement

• Provide activities at home that relate to school learning

• Support and encourage your child

During this important testing week you can also support your child by insuring they get plenty of sleep, they have a nutritious breakfast each morning, and arrive at school on time each day. Please do not schedule any appointments or vacations during testing week. Use this testing week to acknowledge the hard work your child has done!

For more information about the Arizona Academic Standards or for sample test items, visit the Arizona Department of Education website at www.ade.az.gov. Under “Hot Topics,” go to AIMS Information Center.

Randy Koeppe is the principal at Cottonwood Elementary School.

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