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FAQs about Arizona assessment

What is: ?

What is the A-F School Accountability Letter Grade System

The legacy AZLearn System is being phased out by the Arizona Department of Education. The Arizona State Board of Education adopted a new formula, in which both academic outcomes and academic growth are weighted the same. The letter grade descriptions (below) are similar to what you would expect to find on a student report card:

  • “A” schools demonstrate an excellent level of performance.
  • “B” schools demonstrate an above average level of performance.
  • “C” schools demonstrate an average level of performance.
  • “D” schools demonstrate a below average level of performance.
  • “F” schools are those that rank as a “D” school for three consecutive years. “F” schools are placed under the school improvement process by the Arizona Department of Education so that they can receive extra support and resources

> Read more (PDF)

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What is AZ LEARNS?
Arizona School Achievement Profiles

AZ LEARNS is the Arizona Department of Education's school accountability system. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) defines purposeful school accountability as fair and accurate measurements of school performance that are designed to publicly identify and improve schools. The ADE has developed AZ LEARNS to meet the accountability requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, all schools are required to make adequate yearly progress toward ensuring that all students are able to demonstrate proficiency on the required state academic and performance standards.

The ADE provides a school classification for all public schools (district and charter). Schools can be classified as Excelling, Highly Performing, Performing Plus, Performing or Under Performing.The AIMS results are used to determine the classifications given to schools.

A school is classified as failing only after three consecutive Underperforming classifications. Elementary schools are evaluated based on several indicators: AIMS scores, Measure of Academic Progress, ELL student reclassifications, as well as the percentage of students exceeding the standard on AIMS. High schools are evaluated based on several indicators as well: AIMS scores, graduation rate, dropout rate, and the percentage of students exceeding the standard on AIMS.

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What is Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)?

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a cornerstone of the NCLB Act. NCLB requires Arizona to define the level of proficiency students must achieve in mathematics and reading on the AIMS test for grades 3-8 and 10. By 2014, all students must attain this requisite level of proficiency, and each school is required to demonstrate that it is making adequate yearly progress toward achieving that goal. At the high school level, the graduation rate is also used to determine adequate yearly progress.

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What is AIMS?
Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards

Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) is given in several forms: AIMS-HS for high school, AIMS 3-8, and AIMS-A for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

AIMS-HS is given in grades 10-12 and is required by state and federal law. It is standards based, measuring student proficiency of AZ curriculum standards in Reading, Mathematics, Writing, and Science. Passing this test became a graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2006. Students in the Paradise Valley Unified School District must also meet graduation requirements as specified in the High School Planning guide.

High School students who do not meet or exceed the standard in Reading, Math, and Writing must retake the tests until the standards in that subject area are met. Each student has five opportunities to take the AIMS. The Arizona Department of Education has created sample tests and has released some items from previous administrations of AIMS.

These are available at: www.ade.state.az.us/standards/

AIMS-DPA is a “Dual Purpose Assessment” for grades 3-8 being both standards-based and norm-referenced with AIMS and TerraNova test items combined into one test. It measures content taught at a specified grade level in Reading, Writing, and Math with Science being added in grades 4 and 8 in 2008.

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Purpose —
The purpose of AIMS is to measure the academic achievement of all students throughout the state. A student guide for each of these grades, containing a description of the content, expectations, as well as sample questions is sent to each school for dissemination prior to the spring administration of AIMS is available at: www.ade.state.az.us/standards/aims/

In addition a helpful Parent Guide form the state is available at: www.ade.state.az.us/standards/downloads/AIMSDPAbw.pdf

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Arizona Academic Standards
The Arizona Academic Standards are clear and concise statements of what all students are expected to know and be able to do in all subject areas at each grade level. These standards are listed by content area on the Arizona Department of Education Web site at: www.ade.state.az.us/standards/contentstandards.asp

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Using AIMS Data
AIMS serves many audiences, each of whom will use the information from the assessment for different purposes. Parents and students need to know how well the student performed for planning the student's academic needs and schedule. Teachers use AIMS information for instructional planning. School and district administrators use AIMS data to judge how well their curriculum is aligned to the Arizona Academic Standards and where to focus instructional improvement. The Parent Report for students who took AIMS provides scale score information, as well as performance level indicators. This information, along with the Performance Level Descriptors, can be used to determine not only what knowledge and skills the student currently demonstrates, but also, by looking at the next higher performance level, what the student needs to know in order to progress to that level.

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Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) 10

As of spring 2010, the SAT 10 (Stanford Achievement Test 10th Edition), a norm-referenced assessment, is given to students in grades 2 and 9 measuring achievement in reading, language and math. It is scored using percentiles comparing a student’s achievement to same grade-level students nationwide.

Performance Level
AIMS scores are reported in terms of one of four performance levels, according to the student's test performance. The State Board of Education has set these performance levels as:

  • Falls Far Below the Standard
  • Approaches the Standard
  • Meets the Standard
  • Exceeds the Standard

A complete description of these performance levels is available at: http://www.ade.state.az.us/standards/AIMS/ PerformanceStandards/Default.asp



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