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5:44 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

<i>One year later...</i><BR>Schools get Spring 2001 AIMS results

PRESCOTT – It took nearly a year, but local educators this past week got the final results of the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) tests they administered to Grades 3, 5 and 8 students in spring 2001.

State officials said they sent corrected math, reading and writing scores to schools Thursday. Parents will likely get them in the next week or so.

Most tri-city youngsters earned better scores than the state standard of 500. Results comprise percentages of those who fell far below the standard, approached the standard, met the standard or exceeded the standard.

Statewide, 71 percent of third-graders met or exceeded reading standards, 57 percent met or exceeded math standards, and 75 percent met or exceeded writing standards. A sampling of local schools' Grade 3 scores follows:

• Prescott Valley's Franklin Phonetic Primary School, Inc., 100 percent. All its 18 third-graders met or exceeded standards in math, reading and writing.

• Prescott Unified School District: 79 percent of 296 students met or exceeded math standards, 91 percent met or exceeded reading standards, and 92 percent met or exceeded writing standards.

• Humboldt Unified School District: of about 385 students tested, 66 percent met or exceeded in math, 75 percent met or exceeded in reading, and 82 percent met or exceeded in writing.

• Chino Valley Unified School District: of about 150 students, 63 percent met or exceeded in math; 86 percent met or exceeded in reading, and 88 percent met or exceeded in writing.

• Mayer Unified School District: of 41 students tested, 66 percent met or exceeded in math, 83 percent met or exceeded in reading and 87 percent met or exceeded in writing.

• Skyview School: of 16 students tested, 63 percent met or exceeded in math, 81 percent met or exceeded in reading and 82 percent met or exceeded in writing.

Local eighth-grade math scores weren't as good. At Chino Valley's Heritage Middle School, only 15 percent of 192 students met or exceeded the standard; Humboldt Unified School District, 26 percent of 342 students met or exceeded; and Prescott Unified School District, 32 percent of 383 students met or exceeded the math standard.

The Arizona Department of Education, which released results to the media Thursday, blamed the delay on scoring errors by the outgoing AIMS contractor and said the new one promises quicker turnarounds. The department first uncovered the mistakes in the 2000 and 2001 elementary tests this past fall. High school results were unaffected.

These scores for elementary students won't help children who were running behind and could have taken remedial courses over the summer. However, a few administrators noted at least one benefit.

"Although the scores are very late, they do provide good information as to (our) district's performance in teaching to the Arizona standards, and these excellent scores also reflect the high quality of teaching and parental involvement in our community," said Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Kevin J. Kapp. "Obviously, for the future, we prefer that we receive the scores much earlier so that we may initiate remediation and other academic help for the students who are in need of additional assistance."

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera pointed out "numerous improvements" to the AIMS program under his leadership.

"We have in place now a new contract with a new contractor, Harcourt Educational Measurement," he said. "Additionally, I have taken steps to ensure that a series of checks and balances are in place to verify AIMS test results."

The state has spent $13.1 million on AIMS contracting companies since 1997.

Contact Louise Koniarski at lkoniarski@prescottaz.com