AIMS for Success Must Be Stopped

November 15, 2007
By Myriam Arrieta, Phoenix, AZ

Maria Hernandez was a successful student. Her teachers loved her. She was active in school activities and was on the honor roll. However, in May 2007, when graduation came around, she was denied her high school diploma. Maria Hernandez failed to pass AIMS. Students shouldn’t be denied their high school diploma for not passing all three portions of the AIMS test. “No Child Left Behind” doesn’t require a passing score on any kind of competency test. Not only is AIMS unnecessary but it also isn’t even a valid test and it discriminates against students. AIMS for graduation needs to be discontinued.
According to, the federal law “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) does not require a passing score on a competency test for high school graduation. This test isn’t even federally required. So why are we denying students their high school diploma for not passing all three parts of AIMS? It is simply unnecessary. NCLB requires schools to be accountable. NCLB requires school systems to set achievement standards, check whether students are meeting the standards, and intervene where students in school are not meeting the standards. No Child Left Behind also requires schools to provide students with a quality education that would enable the students with a quality education that would enable the students to reach the achievement levels.
Is AIMS a valid test? Is it reliable? A nationally recognized expert on testing, Dr. Darell Sabers, Professor and Head of the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Arizona has stated that AIMS test is not a valid measure for whether a student has qualified for a high school diploma. He notes the subjectivity in setting performance levels and the inability to determine what levels of performance should be demonstrated in order to make a valid judgment about graduation. Also, how do we know students are receiving an adequate educational opportunity to learn the required students? Numerous of students failing any portion of the test means either the test is not testing what the students are learning, or the students are being given the educational opportunity to learn the standards. Every teacher has his or her own teaching method and technique. How can we ever possibly find out?
The William E. Morris Institute for Justice said that the federal government has had a regulation concerning when a test has an adverse or discriminatory impact. This has been for over 26 years. The impact of the test is adverse if the passing rate on a test for any race, sex, and ethnic group less than 80% of the rate for the highest group. The test results of AIMS shows Native American, African American, and Hispanic students have pass rates well below the pass rates for white students. It makes no sense. Why are test scores being compared to gender, race and ethnicity? It’s discrimination against students. What difference does it make if the student is white or Hispanic? Or whether he or she is a female or male? There is no need to identify the students’ race, gender, or ethnicity to compare test results.
It’s unfortunate that students have to pass AIMS for graduation. People mostly say, “If a student can’t pass a simple test, then they don’t deserve their diploma” or “we must determine how well schools are performing”. Yes, it’s true; it shouldn’t be hard for students to pass a simple test. Yes, we must determine how well schools are doing in teaching, but why discriminate our students with a non-valid test that isn’t even required federally? There must be another way!
Since passing AIMS became a graduation requirement for Arizona high school seniors two years ago, grade augmentation was allowed. However, December graduates will be the last class allowed to do so. According to George B. Sanchez, Arizona Daily Star, state officials said that the number of students who didn't graduate because of AIMS increased by more than 60 percent from last year statewide, and the number of students who failed AIMS but were able to graduate with extra credit from schoolwork also grew enormously. In 2006, 332 Arizona high school seniors didn't pass AIMS and 2,855 didn’t pass AIMS but graduated through augmentation. By 2007, 525 Arizona high school seniors didn’t pass AIMS and 3,425 seniors failed to pass AIMS and graduated thanks to augmentation. I have taken AIMS myself and managed to pass all three portions of test within my first try. Not all students have the educational opportunity to learn the standards. They don’t deserve to be denied their high school diploma for their lack of opportunity. So what now? AIMS for success must be stopped!

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This article has 1 comment.

on Aug. 21 2008 at 10:39 pm
i agree with myriam only because she beautiful lol and shes a smart girl that will do good in life... ps. she gots a fatty


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