Eighth-graders at the Pine Strawberry School aced the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards test last spring with students testing well above state averages in reading, writing, math and science, released results show.
The remaining grades, while showing improvement over last year, often scored below students elsewhere in the state.
The most significant achievement for eighth-graders was in writing, where 100 percent met or exceeded state standards, while 86 percent of students statewide achieved that goal. The class had 11 students.
Some 89 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded math standards — the highest score by 27 points since 2005. Statewide, just 62 percent of eighth-graders passed the math portion of the test.
“I’m very proud of them,” Principal Mike Clark said about all his students. He said the school’s scores on AIMS have improved steadily because of the kids’ hard work coupled with an increasing awareness of the tests’ importance.
“Let’s face it, our reputation as a good or bad school is based almost solely on a couple of hours of taking a test,” Clark said.
This year, the school will focus on writing, with students executing the six-trait rubric in all subjects — not just English. The rubric involves concentrating on content, organization, word choice and sentence fluency, among other things.
Although Pine students improved writing scores over last year, eighth-graders were the only grade to test better than state averages.
Seventh-graders performed best in reading, with 82 percent meeting or exceeding standards, compared to 73 percent statewide. In writing and math, students fell below state averages although all three categories saw improvements over last year.
Sixth-graders bested state averages in reading and math, with the best performance in reading with 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standards. Sixth-graders scored better in writing — 77 percent — than in math — 69 percent — but still showed improvement over last year.
Fifth-grade math scores dropped this year from last, but students still beat others statewide by one point. Seventy-three percent of Pine fifth-graders met or exceeded math standards, and the same number met or exceeded reading and writing standards.
However, fifth-graders statewide outscored Pine in reading and writing.
Just 43 percent of fourth-graders met or exceeded writing standards, compared to 83 percent statewide. However, Pine fourth-graders outscored their peers statewide in both reading — 79 percent — and math — also 79 percent.
Third-graders turned in a strong overall performance with 91 percent meeting or exceeding in reading, compared to 72 percent statewide, and 90 percent in math, compared to 73 percent statewide. Writing, however, ended up more challenging with 73 percent of third-graders meeting or exceeding standards compared to 79 percent statewide.
Second-graders, who took the standardized TerraNova test, scored above national standards in reading, language arts and math. Students also showed improvement in every subject except for math.