State readies AIMS tutoring funds
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 5, 2005

Pat Kossan

Arizona school districts can begin applying today for tutoring money to help high school juniors who have not passed the AIMS test and face the possibility of not graduating in 2006.

The Arizona State Board of Education agreed on a plan Tuesday to distribute $10 million to help about 37,000 students, or 57 percent of juniors, who have yet to pass the reading, writing and math exit exam. Districts can apply online to get each struggling junior $270 to pay for nine hours of tutoring at $30 an hour.

Board members are eager to get services to the Class of 2006, the first Arizona students who must pass AIMS to graduate. Those who have not yet passed still have three chances to retake any section of the exam beginning with the next test in February.

Parents of students who still need to pass the exam can expect a letter from their school within weeks asking if they want their student tutored on campus or at a private state-approved tutoring business.

High school principals are responsible for approving tutors, who could be working or retired teachers from their school or from other schools, and are responsible for contacting private tutoring businesses if parents prefer.

Board members reduced the money granted to private tutoring businesses from $40 an hour to $30, the same paid to teachers willing to tutor on campuses. That could reduce the number of private tutoring businesses, now at 14, willing to participate.

Board members also made it clear that one-on-one tutoring is preferred, but groups must never consist of more than five students to one tutor and teachers must be actively involved in any computer-based tutoring.

Board members required schools to track what skills each student needs to master in order to pass the AIMS test and what progress each tutored student is making toward learning those skills.