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AIMS graduation requirement repealed, AzMERIT sample tests available


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  • Sally Stewart/ Arizona Department of Education

AIMSTestHP

Today Senate Bill 1191 was signed into law, immediately ending the AIMS high school graduation requirement.

This action means that any students scheduled to take one or more sections of the AIMS test next week will no longer be required to do so, according to an email from the Arizona Department of Education.

“I congratulate the Legislature and Governor Ducey for removing this last vestige of high stakes testing,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

AIMS graduation requirement repealed, AzMERIT sample tests available AIMSTestHP“I hope this decision relieves much of the stress that parents and their children face when a high stakes test determines whether or not a student can graduate from high school,” Douglas said.

“High academic standards and tests that provide information and accountability are very important, but placing all the responsibility and stress on individual students for the success of our educational system is unfair,” Douglas said.

Until today, students had to pass the reading, writing and mathematics portions of the AIMS test in order to receive a high school diploma. The requirement was previously set to expire Dec. 31, 2016.

Testing will still be available next week for those students wishing to take AIMS for scholarship eligibility or other personal reasons. Parents or families with questions about testing availability in these situations should contact their student’s school.

Future planned administrations of the test will be canceled.

Then during the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 23, the Arizona Department of Education sent out an email that stated:

Students no longer need to meet the AIMS requirement in order to graduate and may be issued a diploma as 2015 graduates if they have satisfied all state credit requirements and any additional local requirements. Please note that students affected by this policy change should be held to the current state minimum credit requirements, not the requirements that may have been in place the year they were initially scheduled to graduate (often referred to as cohort year). Please see below for the current requirements for all students.

English 4 credits
Math 4 credits
Science 3 credits
Social Studies 3 credits
CTE/Fine Art 1 credit
Electives 7 credits
Total 22 credits

 

For this week’s final administration, schools must offer the AIMS HS Writing, Reading, and Mathematics tests to any student who wants to test, including those students testing for the AIMS scholarship.

Please note that this change does not affect AzMERIT, NCSC, AIMS Science, AIMS A Science, or AZELLA. All of these tests will still be administered as previously scheduled.

AzMERIT Sample Tests now available

In related news, AzMERIT Sample Tests are now available, according to an Arizona Department of Education email.

These sample tests are built to function like the actual AzMERIT tests, and are intended to provide students the opportunity to use and become familiar with all of the tools and functionality of the computer-based AzMERIT tests. They are not intended to provide information regarding students’ readiness for AzMERIT testing.

There is a short presentation (less than 6 minutes) and a User Guide to accompany the Sample Tests.  Both are posted on the AzMERIT webpage and AzMERIT portal and linked below:

We are aware of an intermittent issue on some devices with the Line Reader tool. We will post an announcement on the AzMERIT portal as soon as this is fully resolved. If you have any feedback or questions regarding the functionality of the AzMERIT Sample Tests please email us at AzMERIT@azed.gov.

For more information on the administration of AzMERIT, please visit the website at www.azed.gov/AzMERIT.

Douglas proposes review of standards

Also related to both these items, Douglas is proposing legislation to review and revise all state academic standards through a continuous improvement process.

Senate Bill 1305, sponsored by Senate Education Chairwoman Kelli Ward, would establish a committee of parents, teachers, and other stakeholders to evaluate a focused section of standards on an annual basis.

“As we move away from Common Core, it is important to do so in a deliberate fashion so that we stop the pattern of creating new standards only to abolish them every few years,” Douglas said. “This endless cycle leaves schools in a constant state of upheaval and causes undue stress for students and teachers.”

As part of the proposed review process, members of the committee would hold public meetings across the state. All public comment received at those meetings would be analyzed and used to generate proposed changes.

Before submitting final recommendations to the State Board of Education, the committee would seek feedback at an additional series of public hearings.

“This process will ensure that the academic goals created for students are set by Arizonans, for Arizonans,” the Superintendent continued. “I hope to partner with legislators, parents and educators to ensure as smooth a transition as possible so that teachers can get back to teaching and students can get back to learning.”

The bill received a due pass recommendation in the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 12 and is currently awaiting further consideration by the Senate.