House panel votes to loosen AIMS graduation requirement
February 23, 2005

By Paul Davenport

PHOENIX - The Legislature may loosen the requirement that high school students pass the AIMS test in order to get a high school diploma.  

The House K-12 Education Committee overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday to lift the requirement for disabled and special-education students and also students who meet a set of other criteria.

 The other criteria include near-perfect attendance, completing all required courses, C grades or better in required courses, taking AIMS every time it was offered and participating in senior-year AIMS tutoring.

 The legislation is a watered-down version of a bill (HB2294) that would have prohibited the high-stakes requirement outright. A Senate committee two weeks ago approved a bill with the straight prohibition. The sponsor of the Senate bill is working as a team with the sponsor of the House bill.

 The requirement is currently set to take effect with the graduating class of 2006, current high school juniors.

 Members of the House committee said they were troubled that many juniors haven't been able to pass parts of the AIMS test but also say they want to keep some measure of accountability.