Aims Test Shows Payson Students Improve

70 percent of PHS students exceed reading, writing standards

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Payson students are not only doing well, but getting better by the year at reading and writing, according to the results of the 2007 Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test.

Payson High School's 2007 AIMS scores show 76 percent of students meet or exceed minimum standards in writing.

AIMS results for mathematics show 61 percent meet or exceed minimum standards, and, in reading, 72 percent meet or exceed the minimum standards set by the AIMS test.

A comparison of AIMS scores for 2006 shows gains in both reading and writing, but a loss from 63 percent meeting or exceeding math requirements in 2006, to only 61 percent in 2007.

Roy Sandoval, principal of Payson High School, said he does not think AIMS scores are always a realistic representation of the situation.

"In Arizona, students begin taking the AIMS test to count towards graduation when they are in their sophomore year," he said.

"Those who pass, don't have to take it again, but those who don't pass as sophomores have to take it again as juniors, and if they don't pass in their junior year, they have to take it again as seniors. You also might have some special education kids in that group as well as new students to the school.

"What I think is a better indication of progress is when we have the opportunity to take a group of kids from grade eight and follow their progress through grade 10."

Arizona begins administering the AIMS test as early as the third grade and continues through grade eight.

In grades two and nine, students take what is called the TerraNova test, and do not take the AIMS test after grade eight, until they are sophomores in high school.

In 2005, Payson High School started an intervention program to boost AIMS math scores.

Students who failed to meet or exceed minimum standards were placed in a classes called Arizona Standards I or II in an attempt to bring up their math scores.

"Obviously we need to work a little more on our math scores," Sandoval said.

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