Aims Testing Begins Next Week


Which of these is closest to the height of a classroom door?

A. 7 miles; B. 7 yards; C. 7 feet; D. 7 inches

If your children are in elementary or middle school, they can look forward to answering this type of question on the upcoming state Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) tests.

The tests will be administered April 13-14 and April 20 and 21.

In preparing students, Payson Elementary School Principal Roy Sandoval advises parents to discuss the tests' importance for their children's future educational goals.

Frontier Elementary School Principal Gail Gorry and other school administrators are asking parents to make sure their children receive a good night's sleep and eat a quality breakfast on test days.

The school's responsibility, Gorry said, is to provide a quiet testing environment and plenty of encouragement.

When the test dates arrive, FES teachers will ask parents to write their children encouraging notes. The notes will be passed out to the children before testing begins.

"Some parents write ‘think hard,' ‘read carefully' or ‘do your best,'" Gorry said.

Students can prepare by taking practice tests on the Arizona Department of Education's website at: (click on "Sample AIMS Grades 3-8 Test").

According to Gorry, the sample questions will be very similar to those in the actual tests.

The tests

Gone are the days of the Stanford 9 tests.

They've been replaced by a combination of AIMS and TerraNova tests, that work in tandem to determine a student's strengths and weaknesses.

In educational jargon, the TerraNovas --ritten and distributed by school publishing giant McGraw-Hill --re considered Norm Referenced Tests (NRT), which means they are given nationwide to determine baseline scores to use as a comparison.

The Stanford 9 also was an NRT, but fell by the wayside March 29, 2004 when the Arizona State Board of Education voted unanimously to award a new contract for the state's testing program to a division of McGraw-Hill publishing known as CTB.

According to Sandoval, one of the reasons TerraNova has replaced Stanford 9 is expediency in returning results to the schools.

"We are supposed to have the results back in 30 days," he said. "With some other tests, we didn't receive the results until July."

Because teachers and administrators will receive the results before school is out for the summer, the scores can be used to make decisions on whether to promote or retain middle school students.

Test results will include a complete battery of scaled scores including national percentile, grade equivalent, national stanine and total scores for reading, language and mathematics.

The national percentile scores compare the achievements of individual students to those of students nationwide.

The grade equivalent indicates the year and month of school for which an individual's score is typical.

A grade equivalency of 6.2, for example, indicates the student is achieving about what a student would do at the end of the second month of grade six.

The TerraNova also contains an objectives performance index that reflects a student's overall performance on the Arizona Standards learning objectives.

Students are classified as having either a "high degree of mastery," a "moderate degree of mastery" or a "low degree of mastery."

At Payson High School, the math portion of AIMS, will be given April 12. Students graduating in 2006 and beyond must pass AIMS to receive their diploma.

Student have five opportunities, beginning their sophomore year, to pass AIMS.

One last session will be held April 9. For more information on the tutoring, call Kara Huskey at (928) 474-2233.

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