Principals can waive AIMS
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 10, 2006
Appeal can be made in extreme circumstances
Colleen Sparks firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Tempe Union high schools, at least 446 seniors have not passed the AIMS
test, according to district numbers released this week.
But with action taken Wednesday night by the School Board, seniors will have a
second and even a third chance to get a diploma. Ultimately, the board decided,
it could be left up to high school principals to decide whether a senior can
The 446 seniors on the district's list include students learning English and
special-education students who might not have to pass AIMS to graduate, said
Maja Aleksic, district director of assessment and accountability.
In Ahwatukee Foothills, Mountain Pointe High School officials said that it may
be as few as 25 who need to pass if special-education students and
English-language learners are not counted. At Desert Vista only 21 seniors still
need to pass, school officials said.
In Tempe high schools, there are at least 86 seniors on the list from Marcos de
Niza, 81 from McClintock, 73 from Tempe High School and 41 from Corona del Sol.
That includes special-education and ELL students who might not have to pass.
Because of board action Wednesday, Tempe Union seniors who don't pass the AIMS
test can appeal to principals to try to finish high school on time.
The Tempe Union High School District governing board unanimously agreed that
principals would be the ones to decide whether seniors can graduate if they have
exhausted all other options.
High school seniors across the state will be the first class required to pass
the reading, writing and math sections of Arizona's Instrument to Measure
Standards exam in order to graduate this year. Arizona students who don't pass
AIMS can earn extra points to boost their scores by getting C's or higher in
certain classes and if they take remedial classes to prepare for the test.
Even if Tempe Union students don't meet those requirements, they can appeal to
If a family member died, a student was out sick for a long time or another
unforeseen circumstance occurred, a principal could decide to let them graduate,
said Cecilia Johnson, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and
"The principals are in full support of this," Johnson said.
Johnson said she expects no more than 20 seniors per high school will appeal to
their principals this spring because they didn't pass AIMS or meet the
She said she believes even fewer students will appeal next year.
"Our senior class thought this was going to go away," Johnson said about the
AIMS requirement. "Our juniors now know. They are getting very concerned."
Parents must turn in paperwork by May 19 if their child wants to appeal and they
may meet with the principals May 22-24 when the administrators decide whether to
grant the appeals, she said.
Across the district, 367 seniors have not passed the reading section of AIMS,
341 haven't passed writing and 446 haven't passed math.
Of the 25 or more seniors at Mountain Pointe High School who have not passed
AIMS, Principal Brenda Mayberry estimates that only about seven haven't passed
more than one subject.
Mayberry expects no more than five students will appeal to her this year because
they didn't pass the test or meet the guidelines in the state alternative.
"There could be zero," she said. "I think they have been taking it very
The high schools are offering tutoring and reading, writing and math classes to
help students prepare for AIMS.