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3:49 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Prescott schools' AIMS scores top averages in county, across Arizona

PRESCOTT – Overall, Pres-cott Unified School District's percentages of students passing Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) for spring 2002 are solidly greater than those of the state and county in all three subjects at every testing grade.

Still, only half of Miller Valley Elementary School's 54 third-graders met or exceeded state standards for mathematics. That compares to an average of 62 percent for third-graders across Arizona and 65 percent around Yavapai County. In 2001, 62 percent of Miller Valley third-graders passed that portion.

Twenty-seven percent of 208 Prescott Mile High Middle School eighth-graders met or exceeded state standards for mathematics. That's six points greater than the state average and ties the county average. Furthermore, school officials noted that Mile High's score is eight points up from 2001 and, thus, shows some improvement.

By contrast, 49 percent of Granite Mountain Middle School's 170 eighth-graders passed the same exam. Eighty-five percent of Washington Traditional School's 35 third-graders passed the math exam at their level.

These scores were among AIMS results the Arizona Department of Education released to the media Wednesday. The department mailed results to parents and schools over the summer.

District-wide, Curriculum and Testing Coordinator Linda Ryan said Thursday that 75 percent of PUSD's 289 third-graders passed mathematics, 90 percent passed reading, and 94 percent passed writing. State passing rates are 62 percent, 74 percent and 79 percent, respectively, while Yavapai County averages are 65 percent, 79 percent and 82 percent.

Of 362 fifth-graders taking AIMS, 65 percent passed mathematics, 76 percent passed reading and 82 percent passed writing. That compares with the state averages of 46 percent in math and 58 percent in both reading and writing. County averages are 51 percent, 63 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

Of 378 PUSD eighth-graders, 37 percent passed math, 76 percent passed reading and 59 percent passed writing. State percentage averages are 21, 56 and 43, respectively, while county percentage averages are 27, 66 and 47.

Of 201 10th-graders taking the spring 2002 test, 58 percent passed math, 87 percent passed reading and 74 percent passed writing. Respectively, state percentage averages are 32, 62 and 60; county percentage averages are 41, 66 and 58.

According to Ryan, PUSD standout averages include 10th-grade reading and math. Also, she pointed out some "stars" among high-scoring schools. They included Washington Traditional, third-grade math, 85 percent; Taylor Hicks, third-grade reading, 95 percent, and third-grade writing, 96 percent; and Abia Judd, third-grade writing, 96 percent.

For fifth-grade, Ryan singled out Abia Judd for high scores in math (75 percent) and reading (84 percent), and Lincoln for its high score in writing (88 percent). She gave Granite Mountain Middle School credit for its scores in all three AIMS areas (math, 49 percent; reading, 86 percent; and writing, 66 percent), and lauded Prescott Mile High for its eight-point improvement in math, up from 19 percent in 2001. Mile High's other scores are 68 percent in reading and 53 percent in writing.

Prescott High School is usually among the 10 highest scoring schools in the state, Ryan said. While state comparisons were not yet available Thursday, she expected it to maintain its standing.

Ryan said the district will continue to target middle-school math for improvement and this year will focus on improving third-grade math scores at Miller Valley Elementary, too. Further, she maintained that the math portion is "the most rigorous" of the AIMS tests.

"We, as a district, actually score lower in mathematics on AIMS than we do on reading and writing, whereas on Stanford 9, that's our very strongest area," she said. "That shows you the extreme difference between the two tests. (For AIMS) you must have algebra and geometry by the eighth-grade level in order to do well."

New math textbooks and teaching strategies should help improve scores on next spring's AIMS, she said.

Writing was the district's strongest area for all testing grades, Ryan maintained.

For more information, contact your child's school or the Arizona Department of Education at www.ade.state.az.us.

Contact Louise Koniarski at lkoniarski@prescottaz.com.