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Fri, Dec. 13

Parents can help students excel on AIMS test

As mentioned previously in my "Cook's Comments," the A.I.M.S test is not too far away! In about two months from this time the State of Arizona will once again be conducting its annual assessment of the mandated "Arizona Standards."

Begun two years ago for the first time in the 3rd and 5th grades, the A.I.M.S test assesses the level of academic mastery attained by each student and each school across the State of Arizona at these two grade levels, relating to adopted standards in Language Arts (Reading and Writing), as well as to formal standards in Mathematics.

As parent(s)/guardian(s) of fifth graders you can significantly help your children excel on the A.I.M.S. in a number of ways. First, continue to show interest in what is being taught at school. Second, continue to maintain high expectations regarding your child's overall academic performance. Third, continue to help your child do his/her best. For example, take time to make sure that the "Arizona Standards" for 5th graders, as listed below, are understood by your son/daughter. After all, these are the stated "Essentials" (E) for Reading (R), Writing (W), and Math (M).

Note: students at the Essentials Level Grade 5 know and are able to do the Readiness (kindergarten) and Foundations (Grade 3) standards and concepts as well as the following:

LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS

Reading Essentials (Grades 4-5)

Standard 1: Reading

R-E1. Use structural analysis skills such as identifying root words, prefixes, suffixes and word origins to decode words unfamiliar in print

R-E2. Use reading strategies such as making inferences and predictions, summarizing, paraphrasing, differentiating fact from opinion, drawing conclusions, and determining the author's purpose and perspective to comprehend written selections

R-E3. Analyze selections of fiction, nonfiction and poetry by identifying the plot line (i.e., beginning, conflict, rising action, climax and resolution); distinguishing the main character from minor ones; describing the relationships between and motivations of characters; and making inferences about the events, setting, style, tone, mood and meaning of the selection

R-E4. Identify the author's purpose, position, bias and strategies in a persuasive selection

R-E5. Evaluate an instructional manual such as assembly directions or user's guide for clarity and completeness

R-E6. Compare and contrast the historical and cultural perspectives of literary selections

Writing Essentials (Grades 4-5)

Standard 2: Writing

W-E1. Use correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar and usage, along with varied sentence structure and paragraph organization, to complete effectively a variety of writing tasks

W-E2. Write a personal experience narrative or creative story that includes a plot and shows the reader what happens through well-developed characters, setting, dialog, and themes and uses figurative language, descriptive words and phrases

W-E3. Write a summary that presents information clearly and accurately, contains the most significant details and preserves the position of the author

W-E4. Write an expository essay that contains effective introductory and summary statements and fully develops the ideas with details, facts, examples and descriptions

W-E5. Write a report that conveys a point of view and develops a topic with appropriate facts, details, examples and descriptions from a variety of cited sources

W-E6. Write formal communications, such as personal or business letters, messages, directions and applications, in an appropriate format and for a specific audience and purpose

W-E7. Write a response to a literary selection by supporting their ideas with references to the text, other works or experiences

W-E8. Demonstrate research skills using reference materials such as a dictionary, encyclopedia and thesaurus to complete effectively a variety of writing tasks

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