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Change Coming For Arizona's Science AIMS Scores

Courtesy of Arizona Department of Education
Arizona Science AIMS scores since 2010

The release of last year’s AIMS scores on Monday signified the last time science scores won’t be counted against schools. That may be a good thing when looking at the science scores reported. 

Last year’s Science AIMS scores were at 56 percent passing overall, down 4 percent from its peak in 2012 and down 1 percent from last year. While those numbers are not encouraging for science literacy in Arizona, they never counted against students or schools. That is changing this year, said Arizona Superintendent of Instruction John Huppenthal.

“The science scores are now going to be a part of our accountability system, the letter grade system" Huppenthal said. "And our belief is that these science scores, which are flat, they will now start in the trajectory of our math and reading scores.”

Current science scores are not held against a school’s evaluation. However, legislation passed earlier this year states that if a school receives a D or an F for two consecutive years in science, the school must implement a science, technology, engineering and mathematics intervention strategy. That plan will be overseen by the state board of education, as the hope is this will at least match the slight increase seen in other subjects.  

Andrew Bernier was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2016.