Glendale Union preps students for AIM
Arizona Republic
Feb. 8, 2008

Meghan E. Moravcik

Glendale Union High School District sophomores are gearing up to take their first - and, they hope, last - swing at the AIMS writing and reading tests.

All tenth-graders will take two parts of Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards test on Feb. 26 and 27. They will be tested on math in April, along with first-ever testing in science. Students must pass the reading, writing and math portions to graduate, but do not yet have to pass the science test.

Also taking the tests will be any juniors and seniors who have not yet passed. For those students, before- and after-school tutoring is an option to get them ready. And, closer to test time, additional Saturday tutoring is offered.

The district gets good turnout for the tutoring sessions, said Jennifer Johnson, an assistant superintendent.

"The students have some motivation to pass the test, since their graduation depends on it, and if you have teachers willing to help out, we certainly hope they take advantage of that," she said.

English teacher Lindsay Bray is one of several Cortez High teachers helping students get ready for the tests.

Bray is tutoring six students, one on one or in small groups, before and after school. For these students, she said language is the biggest barrier for their success on the test.

"I teach them about context clues and inference-based questions," Bray said. "They tend to struggle with those the most."

Bray is tutoring students mostly for the reading portion, but she has one student who has come to her for help on the writing portion.

"I tutored her in reading and she did really well, so she came to me to help her with writing," Bray said.

But AIMS preparation doesn't just happen right before the test; it happens all school year, Johnson said.

"Curriculum is aligned to state standards, (which is what AIMS is testing), so obviously they've been teaching to those standards all year and they have been practicing assessments in the same format as the AIMS test," she said.

For example, in addition to the typical lab lessons and activities, biology students take multiple-choice tests during the year to help prepare them for the multiple-choice AIMS test coming up.