Bill would give alternative to AIMS graduation rule
March 10, 2008
A House bill
moving through the Legislature may help more students receive their high-school
diplomas in May without passing the AIMS test.
House Bill 2008 proposes to permanently reinstate an alternative graduation
requirement that takes into consideration a student's existing grades and the
number of times the student took the AIMS test or sought tutoring. The measure,
if approved, would be retroactive to December.
Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe, said his bill affects between 5,000 to 10,000
Many are good students who earn good grades but are unable to pass Arizona's
Instrument to Measure Standards test, he said. A number of students are 25
points shy of passing the test, Schapira said. He wants students who have good
grades to be able to gain points to graduate.
A bill that carried a similar measure expired in December.
"I used to be a high-school teacher," Schapira said. "Some students and teachers
asked me to renew it."
He believes the full House will hear the proposed bill soon. It would still have
to go through the Senate.
Tom Horne, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, said he is against the
This bill could put pressure on some teachers to inflate grades, and grade
inflation is already a problem, Horne said.
"Students should demonstrate on an objective test that they have the skills that
we expect of a high-school graduate," Horne said.
John Wright, president of the Arizona Education Association, the state's
teachers union, could not be reached for a comment.
Educators at Phoenix Union High School District said numerous seniors would
benefit from the bill. The Phoenix district graduates more than 3,000 seniors
Some seniors who have not passed the AIMS test are not expected to graduate in
May, said Phoenix Union spokesman Craig Pletenik.
High-school students have five chances to pass the test.
Students take the AIMS math portion in April and find out two weeks before May