Arizona students got some more help on their march toward a high school diploma this week with the State Department of Education's release of its student guide for the AIMS test.
The guide should go a long way -- 40 pages worth, in fact -- in helping to prepare youngsters for the test, which, beginning with the class of 2002, they must pass in order to graduate. The families of high school freshmen and sophomores will begin receiving the booklet over the next few weeks.
The guide should also be enlightening to parents. It provides a thorough rundown on what students should expect when they take the test, what concepts they're expected to know, and even includes tips on how to take it. Included are sample questions that both parents and students should try to answer.
There should be no surprises when AIMS test time comes.
The Arizona Department of Education, and State Superintendent of Education Lisa Graham Keegan in particular, have been criticized for pushing the AIMS test as the way to ensure that students graduate knowing what they need to know. Officials are asking too much of our young people, the critics claim.
But we reaffirm that clear academic standards and a way to measure students' skills are sound strategies that will help our youngsters become capable adults. A high school diploma does not necessarily mean that right now. That will become clear when AIMS is instituted.
Page one of the AIMS student guide provides a list of actions students can take to prepare for the test. It includes attending school regularly, reading the state's academic standards booklet, selecting classes wisely, scheduling time for homework and studying, and participating in class.
That doesn't seem like too much to ask.