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May 8, 2013 9:12 PM by Nathan O'Neal

More than 400 TUSD seniors might not graduate due to AIMS test

TUCSON - More than 400 high school seniors may not be celebrating their graduation if they don't pass the math portion of the AIMS test.

To graduate in the next few weeks, 437 seniors at TUSD need to pass the AIMS test in order to receive their diplomas, according to the latest TUSD documents. The most recent test results are yet to be released but last year 93 seniors did not graduate because they didn't meet the AIMS requirement.

Tucson High senior Marena Bedoya picked up her yearbook Wednesday -- full of memories -- but it's the future that scares her.

"I've been trying to pass the AIMS since sophomore year... and it's been about six times already," Bedoya told News 4 Tucson. She is just one of nearly 140 students at Tucson High School who haven't passed the AIMS' math portion yet and won't find out until the day before graduation, whether she did the latest time.

"Am I going to pass? Am I going to graduate?" Bedoya asked, adding: "It kind of comes down to just waiting for results to come in."

It's that kind of scenario some schools within TUSD are working to avoid.

"The district has taken on the job of making sure that all teachers have been trained in good, quality instruction," said Janna Acevedo, Principal of Palo Verde Magnet High School.

The district provides personalized tutoring and testing to identify students who need help early on.

"To identify kids in the classroom ... Again it goes right back to that classroom... About who's struggling and who needs help," Acevedo said.

Lesly Vazquez is a senior at Palo Verde. She was one of those students who struggled with math and got some much needed help to guide her to passing the AIMS math portion.

"They find any possible way for you to get it.. Until you get it and they're very patient with you," Vazquez said.

As for Marena, she's anxious to know whether she'll get to pursue her dreams after high school.

"I got to get out of here.. Out of Tucson High... And I want to go to college so I need to pass AIMS... And right now... As far as me being able to do something... I can't," Bedoya said.

There are a few options for students who don't pass the AIMS. One is to simply wait and re-take the test as soon as possible. Another is to pass college placement exams -- such as the ACT or SAT -- at an acceptable level to take the place of the AIMS requirement.

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