May 21, 2014 7:09 PM by Kristi Tedesco & Edgar Ybarra
TUCSON - A state mandate is about to hit third graders all over Arizona. Local kids who fail the reading portion of the AIMS test will be forced to redo their third grade year. They have to read at grade level, or redo the third grade.
Jessica Howell teaches third grade at Hendricks Elementary, in the Flowing Wells School District. She tells Kristi's Kids, "...before their first day of AIMS testing (I) told them, this is like the Super Bowl. We've been training all year. This is your big game."
This school year, Howell had 22-students. She says, preparation for the AIMS test started when they were in second grade.
The kids falling behind were flagged early and educators, counselors and parents have intervened. Before and after school programs have been offered. There's also a free summer program, to help kids with their reading.
According to Arizona law, beginning this school year, a third grader cannot advance to the fourth grade if (on the AIMS test) he or she "falls far below the standards (FFB)" in reading.
A child is safe, and will advance, if he or she "approaches the standards," "meets the standards" or "exceeds the standards."
The Amphi, Vail and Marana school districts expect few to none of their 3rd graders will be held back. All 3rd graders in the Flowing Wells district WILL ADVANCE to 4th grade. The district has confirmed, all 3rd graders cleared the bar.
The Sunnyside district says, of its 1,470 third graders, 29 kids are at risk of being held back. In TUSD there are 4,260 3rd graders, 962 are at-risk of not passing. 778 of those students have confirmed for summer school.
Most school districts will be getting their aims results this week.
Next year, no child will take the aims test. Instead, there will be a different test measuring "readiness" and "critical thinking skills." The state is still working out the details on which test to administer.
If you'd like to keep your child's mind sharp, the Pima county library has a summer reading program you can look into. Click here.
For another option, click here.