The Arizona Department of Education recently released the scores of the Spring AIMS testing and, of the schools in Maricopa administering the test, Legacy Traditional Charter School is leading the pack.
The charter school, which held AIMS testing for grades three through six last year, saw an average of 86 percent of their students pass the math portion, 81 percent pass the reading portion and 78 percent pass the writing portion.
The Maricopa Unified School District’s passing percentages for the same grade levels were: 63 percent passing the math portion, 70 percent passing the reading portion and 71 percent passing the writing portion. Last year the percentages of students passing in grades 3-6 were as follows: math 68 percent, writing 78 percent and reading 69 percent.
However, MUSD’s numbers combine four schools while Legacy’s numbers are based on only one.
“We are a growing district, and there is a lot of change. If you look at the numbers of one of our more stable schools, like Pima Butte, the numbers are closer to that of the Legacy school,” said JoEtta Gonzales, director of curriculum for MUSD.
Gonzales added that she believes the testing results at all of the schools in Maricopa will continue to improve as the community ages. “We are for the most part testing kids on foundations they learned in other districts; you can’t judge a district like that,” Gonzales said.
Another thing that Gonzales said she thinks improves test scores is parental involvement.
“Legacy requires parents to be involved, and it shows in their results,” Gonzales said.
Areas in which Maricopa Unified School District improved over last year’s scores were third and fourth grade reading at every school except Maricopa Elementary and fourth grade math at every school but Maricopa Elementary. Third grade writing had higher scores at every school besides Pima Butte.
The Middle School also saw higher reading scores in each grade, higher scores in seventh and eighth grade math and higher scores in eighth grade writing.
At the high school level both tenth grade math and reading saw core increases.
Other than those improvements, the district saw scores decline or show no increase in every other category and grade level.
Third through eighth grader students and high school sophomores take the AIMS exam each spring. Elementary students are not held back if they fail the exam, but high school students must pass all three sections of the AIMS to get a diploma.
High school students can retake the exam up to four times; if they still cannot pass the test, state legislation allows them to boost their AIMS scores if they pass their regular courses.
AIMS scores help parents determine how their student and neighborhood school are performing compared to others.