AIMS puts science to test (Arizona Republic article)

February 16, 2006

By hammersmith

[Source: Ray Parker, Arizona Republic] — Arizona school districts and students are preparing to face a new set of standardized exams: science on the AIMS test. Next spring, the state will give pilot versions of the science exams to all fourth-, eighth-, and 10th-graders. The test will be fully implemented the following year, and eventually 225,000 students will be taking it annually. That means schools across the Valley have a new measure they must meet to pass stringent federal guidelines and students face another test subject along with writing, reading and math.

Valley superintendents are rearranging science classes throughout the grades to prepare students before they have to take the pilot test next year. The new tests also are forcing districts to look for those rare teachers certified in science at a time when teacher shortages already have schools scrambling. Once science is a permanent part of AIMS, Arizona Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne said he expects it will also be added to the high school graduation requirements of the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards.

In 1999, the first round of AIMS testing had dismal results: 61 percent of students passed reading along with 30 percent for writing and 13 percent for math. Some students continue to struggle to pass AIMS. The Class of 2006 is the first required to pass AIMS as a graduation requirement.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Mesa High School Biotech Academy.]