My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

Phasing Out AIMS: An Arizona Parent’s Guide

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April 30, 2014

Dear Readers,

Arizona students across the Grand Canyon state are finally coming out of their AIMS induced stupor and getting back to the business of learning.  Meanwhile, the high stakes test itself, Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS), is well on its way to being phased out.  Not to worry, there is another high stakes test just waiting to take its place.  But what does this transition period mean for Arizona students?  And parents, how does this affect the future of your child’s education?  I’m glad you asked.

Arizona Graduating Classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016 

Students are required to pass the AIMS HS Writing, Reading, and Mathematics test in order to graduate from an AZ public school.  This requirement was first effective for the 2006 graduating class.  This requirement will remain in effect only up until the students graduating through the class of 2016.

Students have several opportunities to pass the three required tests beginning in their sophomore year in high school.  Students are able to retake the tests once each fall and spring, until graduation.

What parents and students may not know is that there are alternative methods for meeting the AIMS high school graduation requirement for those students who do not earn passing scores on all three tests.

The Alternative Methods can be found here and here.   There are several alternative methods available and each requires very specific criteria.  Should this be something you would want to look into, my suggestion is for you to take a look at the web site, as I would not be able to do justice with any short and quick explanation.

Arizona Graduating Classes of 2017 and Later

Congratulations!  You are not required to pass AIMS in order to graduate from an AZ public school.  But, wait, this may not be such a good thing.  You can almost bet that this high stakes requirement will be replaced by another high stakes requirement in the very near future.  So, do not, I repeat, do not get lulled into thinking that you are home free.

Additional Help

There are several web sites willing to answer any questions parents and/or students may have.  However, I have found the AZ Department of Education website to be the most complete, accurate, and user friendly site to navigate.  You can start here or here


  • AIMS High School is a requirement to graduate from an AZ public school through the class of 2016
  • There are alternative methods to graduate should a student not pass all three tests
  • Graduating classes 2017 and later do not have to pass AIMS HS to graduate
  • There is a good chance that students graduating 2017 and later will be required to take another high stakes test

I hope this information finds its way into the homes of those that need it.  If you know someone who could use this information, please, pass it along.  Thanks.  Peace, ~v.


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