State Standardized Testing
The Federal “No Child Left Behind” 2001 Education Act (NCLB) requires that all states establish academic standards and test those standards each year with a state criterion-referenced test (CRT). A criterion-referenced test establishes whether a student has mastered the content of the standards and does not compare students with other students. Arizona has already established and refined clear academic standards, and the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test is a criterion-referenced test designed to test the standards.
Arizona State law requires the testing of all students each year in a norm-referenced test (NRT). A norm-referenced test is a test that has been previously administered to a similarly diverse population, nationwide, so that our results each year can be compared with those scores (referred to as the “norms”). In this way, it is possible to compare our achievement with the rest of the nation.
To meet these requirements state testing will be as follows:
Stanford 10 – (Grades 2 and 9): All students in Grades 2 and 9 take the SAT 10 norm-referenced test in Math, Reading, and Language to replace the Terra Nova test administered in previous years.
AIMS – (Grades 3-8 and High School): All students from 3rd to 8th take the AIMS in Math, Reading, and Writing, which replaces the AIMS test taken in previous years. AIMS is a combined norm referenced and criterion-referenced test, with test items from the original AIMS test, new AIMS test items, and Terra Nova test items combined. To the student the type of test items will not be apparent, but separate results will be provided for both test types as in the past. AIMS test results will indicate a performance level of Falls Far Below, Approaching, Meets, or Exceeding, and the Terra Nova results will provide a percentile rank showing a comparative score compared with the norm group of students who took the Terra Nova test in other states across the country. This test will serve the purpose of both individual tests (AIMS and SAT 10) previously administered. Parents will receive a report for each student containing results for the AIMS portion of the test, and separate results for the Terra Nova portion of the test.
AIMS HIGH SCHOOL: Grades 10-12 take the AIMS HS test in Math, Reading, and Writing, which does not combine Terra Nova test items. Students are given five opportunities to pass the test in the fall and/or spring, and must retake the test until they pass prior to graduation. Students who pass the AIMS test need not retake the test in subsequent years.