AIMS gets tough

Seniors who failed the test have 2 choices

PAT
MICKELSON

PAT MICKELSON

KINGMAN - Passage of Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards test as a high school graduation requirement became more difficult in January, when the AIMS augmentation option expired.

Students may take the math, reading and writing test up to five times in high school and must pass all three elements to receive a diploma. In the past two years, students unable to pass one or more of the sub-tests were able to augment their AIMS scores up to 25 percent with the application of grades earned in core classes.

The state Legislature has considered a bill that would reinstate that alternative requirement. It passed the House of Representatives nearly two months ago and made it through the Senate Education Committee in mid-March. But no action has been taken since.

Senators have declined to schedule a vote on HB 2008. In order for it to go into effect immediately, it would require a two-thirds majority.

"We're still hopeful the Senate will pass it," Kingman High School Principal Pat Mickelson said. "We have a few students that without (augmentation) will not earn a KHS diploma."

She said they would be eligible for a KHS certificate of completion, or they would be able to stay in school a fifth year and study for the tests they didn't pass.

The Kingman Unified School District Governing Board authorized issuance of certificates of completion in April. While less than a diploma, the certificates are more significant than a GED, Mickelson said.

"The certificate of completion demonstrates the student has met all graduation requirements, except passage of AIMS," she said.

While some Board members questioned whether students might be willing to settle for the certificate, Mickelson argued that it would give students not passing AIMS the incentive to complete all other course work and make them eligible to walk with classmates receiving diplomas at graduation.

Roughly 475 students are slated to graduate at Lee Williams Field in Downtown Kingman on the night of June 5. That includes some from the Positive Alternatives for Student Success program run by Sandy McCoy.

There are about 10 students who haven't passed all three AIMS sub-tests, Mickelson said.

"When we got the reading and writing results back, we had a number pass, but we don't yet have the math results," she said.

"I think that all told the total number (not passing all three sub-tests) is less than 20."

If the Senate should pass HB 2008 by the two-third majority soon, the KHS Guidance Office has completed the paperwork necessary for augmentation and would submit it immediately, Mickelson said.

Principal Jeff Martin at Kingman Academy of Learning High School also was contacted. KAOL has 73 seniors due to graduate May 29.

"We did AIMS remediation classes with those students needing extra help to prepare for the test and all have passed," Martin said.

"Augmentation is something I would like to see come back. Something probably has to be done."