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Mingus, Cottonwood Middle School math scores low
Written by Greg Ruland   
Sunday, 24 July 2011 00:00

Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards results were recently released by the Arizona Department of Education.

Mingus Union High School District

The class of 2013 passed sections of AIMS at rates above the state average in two out of three categories, according to test scores released to the public July 13 by the Arizona Department of Education.

Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards results were recently released by the Arizona Department of Education.Results showed 61 percent of MUHS sophomores passed math, 79 percent passed reading and 65 percent passed writing. Only 45 percent passed the science portion of the exam, which does not count toward graduation.

When juniors and seniors who failed to pass all three sections of the exam as sophomores are added to the mix, the average pass rate for all MUHS grades was 53 percent in math, 77 percent in reading and 62 percent in writing.

“A preliminary review of the results is consistent with the concerns that the administration previously reported to the [MUHS District Governing Board],” MUHS Principal Tamara Addis wrote in a memo to Governing Board Chairman Jim Ledbetter on July 15.

“The students, who are tested in their second year at Mingus, had results which were better than the results of tests administered [to them] during their eighth-grade year. However, the results are not as high as the Mingus leadership would like. These students’ performance has improved, but there is more work to be done,” Addis wrote.

“Although we knew these test results would raise concern, and we have been working hard to improve the outcome, there is still much more work to do, and we are up to the challenge,” she wrote.

The class of 2013 scored above the state average in math and reading, but the passing rate fell by 8 percent in writing compared to last year.

Passing rates in writing declined an average of 5 percent statewide because the test was changed this year to include multiple choices questions and an essay. In the past, only an essay was required, Addis wrote.

Cottonwood Middle School

Eighth-graders passed math this year at a rate of 51 percent and reading at a rate of 76 percent. Those scores are down compared to 2010 when eighth-graders passed math at a rate of 56 percent and reading at a rate of 77 percent.

AIMS Required to Graduate

Arizona requires students to take Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards each spring.

High school students must pass the math, reading and writing sections of the exam to graduate. Though tested, students are not required to pass the science section of the test to graduate, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

The mandatory tests begin in the sophomore year. Students must take the test each year until they pass all three sections. Students may take the test up to four times before graduation day.

Students in third through eighth grade also take AIMS each spring and are tested on math, reading, writing and science.

Tests administered in third and eighth grade are considered important for determining student progress but do not affect a student’s ability to graduate.

Across the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, however, scores improved in math and reading. Compared to 2010, the average pass rate for all grades in 2011 went up in math from 54 to 57 percent and in reading from 76 percent to 78 percent.

However, the average pass rate for all grades in writing went down from 70 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2011.

“We’re very proud of the continued growth that our students are

demonstrating. Over the past three years, we’ve seen an average 10 percent increase in reading,” COCSD Director of Educational Services Pat Osborne said.

The district also saw an increase in math test scores compared to two years ago.

“We saw a good increase there,” she said. “We still want to increase our scores. We want to better align our scores with national standards, but we’re pleased with the progress.”

Clarkdale-Jerome School District

Eighth-grade students showed strong pass rates in three sections of the AIMS with 74 percent passing math, 84 percent passing reading and 86 percent passing science.

Among Clarkdale-Jerome third-graders, 92 percent passed math and 94 percent passed reading.

Overall scores improved districtwide in math and reading. Compared to 2010, the average pass rate for all grades in 2011 went up in math from 73 to 76 percent and in reading from 86 percent to 87 percent.

However, the average pass rate for all grades in writing went down from 81 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2011.

“It does look good and I’m proud of how hard we work here at Clarkdale-Jerome and how well our kids do,” Superintendent Kathleen Fleenor said.

“The main thing I think people need to understand is that it’s a snapshot,” Fleenor said. “It doesn’t mean your school’s great; it’s a snapshot.”

Like most schools, Clarkdale-Jerome uses AIMS scores to review its success in teaching math, reading and writing at each grade level and then by individual student. Based on the review, the school adjusts its instruction or curriculum as needed.

Teaching plans to assist individual students in the areas in which they struggle are also developed, Fleenor said.

Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, students will not be promoted from third to fourth grade if they score below the third-grade level on the reading portion of the test, Fleenor said.


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