Arizona Students Bomb Standardized Science and Writing Tests

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kjarrett via Wikimedia
2013 Arizona AIMS test results show nearly half of all students failing science and writing


About half of Arizona students failed their yearly science and writing tests, which are given to gauge their understanding of subjects.

The Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test is distributed each year to students in grades 3 through 8 and to 10th graders as well.

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"Our writing and science test results are a wakeup call. It is unacceptable that over 40 percent of our students cannot test at a minimum AIMS standard in writing and science," says Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal.

Only 61 percent of students passed the 2013 math portion of the test, and 78 percent passed reading.

The grotesque state of the state's education is due to many factors, but many people have cited the conservative budget-balancing techniques utilized throughout the years.

A recent study found Arizona has cut education spending nearly 22 percent from 2008 to 2013, and listed Arizona as the worst in the nation for under-funding education.

In fact, Education Week ranks Arizona as 44th in the nation overall for its lack of focus on education. Arizona placed 48th in the study's "Chance-for-Success Index," which examines the role education plays in students' lives as they move through school, into college and work.

The same study gave Arizona teachers a D- in its "Teaching Profession" category, which was the lowest grade passed out in that field.

So not only are students nearly failing and politicians stripping schools of funding, but the teachers responsible for educating underachieving youth collectively have been ranked only slightly wiser than that one senior in your freshman chemistry class who was taking it for the third year in a row.

But we guess that in a state where the governor needs to sound out the words scrolling across her teleprompter, the sky -- or the governor's mansion -- is the limit.


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43 comments
yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

The teachers union protecting lazy teachers is to blame.

Kristina Yancey
Kristina Yancey

I think that picture is a little insulting to AZ teachers considering that school is in Michigan. There are a myriad of issues, in the corporate world what would you do if you received less pay and were given more work? There are laws that protect you from that sort of thing, teachers... Not so much. They can slash your pay in the middle of the school year due to budget concerns and this is TERRIBLE for morale amongst other things. It is quite a bit more difficult to become a teacher and get hired than it was, even 10 years ago. They are demanding academic excellence especially in the STEM areas (as they should), but what do you pay your top performers? Depends on the budget. Also, parents and students need to be ACCOUNTABLE! Education does not stop and start on school grounds, if parents do not support teachers and hold their kids accountable for their work, you can hardly blame the teacher. Whether a child fails or succeeds is 50% parental influence, 25% student effort, 25% teacher guidance.

royalphoenix
royalphoenix

how those republicans and democrats treatin' u folks ? rofl

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Education is one of the State's highest priorities, and accounts for the largest part of the budget, but the current spending levels aren't enough to educate the flood of incoming students whose parents often don't read in their own language and own no English language books at all.  These kids have never been read to until they begin Kindergarten, and any education expert will tell you that this puts a tremendous burden on the system.

The last time I looked at the statistics was about three years ago.  At that time, over 50% of incoming K or First Grade students did not speak English in the home.

The federal government should step up and take financial responsibility for teaching English.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Although our funding is low, at a per-student level, those students who actually care about their education enough to take the SAT or ACT tests for college are scoring above the national average.

That suggests that the failure is not in the school system.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

The article forgot to mention that many students take the tests before they've had the classes they cover.   That's one reason it's offered multiple times before graduation.

However, too many students aren't learning math and science, primarily because they're parents have been convinced by years of television that math and science are "hard" and are for nerds.

Jo Ellen Birt McNamara
Jo Ellen Birt McNamara

Ok...its neither the parents nor the teachers' faults. We need to rethink education....all over the country, but especially here in AZ! We need to focus on ENGAGING our kids in learning - not shoving standardized tests down thier throat. Think about the day that some subject caught your attention and you wanted to learn everything you could about it (dinosaurs, bugs, numbers, earth, space, etc.) THAT is what we need to focus on - not blame. ENGAGE these learners.....give them the right environment to explore and they will devour information and knowledge!

cassityg32
cassityg32

You HAVE TO take into account 2 major factors here. 1) parents over all do NOT work with their children at home or put much emphasis on education what so ever. It falls onto the teacher 100% & this is not the way it is supposed to work. 2) when you look at these tests on the math portion for example to test factorization there are approximately 4-5 questions & it then moves on to the next skill. That being the case, if a child misses 2 of the 5 problems they've already scored a 60%. This is not a fair basis to rate a child's knowledge.

Brett Solesky
Brett Solesky

The reading portion likely consisted of word usage. There they're their than then you're your and an.

Abel Baker
Abel Baker

Way to go Gov. Jan and the idiots at the legislature...another year for Arizona schools to be at or near the bottom of the funding list! Pay now or Pay later (prison, welfare, etc) folks! It's just that simple.

Manetta Crick
Manetta Crick

crap my kid passed that like in the 9th grade way before graduation... it was no big deal

Cris Cross
Cris Cross

Now they they added all the voter suppression laws. Its only going to get worse.

Sara Sturz
Sara Sturz

No Nicholas, it's the greedy republicans fault!

Sara Sturz
Sara Sturz

I know, let's cut more funding from education! Wait... Can you read this?

Cris Cross
Cris Cross

How will they do when the republicans close even more schools and take all the funding from the schools. All they want are bodies to send over seas anyway. You don't need smarts to die in a foreign land. But they know if they had smarts they would never go. And that upsets the machine.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@yourproductsucks  

Nonsense.  The teacher's unions have no power in Arizona.

Teachers don't even have tenure.

 

jeanjb
jeanjb

@valleynative im pretty dumb,but 50% sounds like mathematic teabagger BULLSHIT!

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Louise Stevens  

That attitude, when expressed in front of students, contributes to the problem.  Algebra is not difficult or boring and is much more useful in daily life than, for example, a lot of memorized dates.

My kids attended public school in Arizona and completed their high school Algebra requirement in the 8th grade.  There are a lot of good schools out there, if parents care to take advantage of the opportunity.

 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

And too many of us can't write English.  I can't believe I wrote "they're" instead of "their".

Actually, I had originally written "because they're raised by parents who ..." and failed to edit.

ImSorryYoureWrong
ImSorryYoureWrong

@Sara Sturz Yes, paying teachers more = smarter kids. Sound logic, you dumb cunt.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Cris Cross  

School closings are in the hands of the local school boards, which tend not to be partisan.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Antonio Maldonado  

You realize that's not from Arizona though, right?

ImSorryYoureWrong
ImSorryYoureWrong

@Nicholas Gonzalez Shhhh! Don't let people think that they're accountable for their own actions!!!!

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Robin Parker  

That's a popular misconception, but actually, not all parents are Republicans.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@jeanjb

It's easy to just discredit any numbers you don't like that way, but they come directly from the department of education's web site.

cassityg32
cassityg32

The $ does not all go to paying teachers more. It also goes into things like supplies, academic programs & books. So you learn to for example research the facts before you speak & books that help you to use intelligent language & expand your vocabulary so you don't go through life looking like an ignorant moron spouting off words like cunt.

cassityg32
cassityg32

I sympathize. I had 9 books to my 32 students for math & NO copy paper & 12 reading books. It was a fun 4 years

cugagcmu80
cugagcmu80

@ImSorryYoureWrong @cassityg32  

I can verify that what cassityg32 is saying about many schools is correct.  I retired from teaching high school in 2009.  When I began teaching in 1974, paper, pencils, chalk, erasers, books, etc. were no problem for the school system to provide.  When I retired in 2009, the system had reduced the amount of  money for teachers to buy supplies to $150 for the entire year, and the school had stopped supplying the items I mentioned.  This meant that we could buy fewer supplies for our students.  I recall teaching a class for an entire semester without any textbooks for my students.  At the time I retired, we had to purchase our own printer cartridges out of the $150 allotment.  This meant that any other printer cartridges we needed, we had to pay for out of our own pockets.  I can't recall exactly how much I spent on school supplies for my students throughout the years, but it was quite a bit. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@ImSorryYoureWrong

It's a matter of prioritization.

Do we give free lung transplants to people who dropped out of high school and have been smoking their whole lives, or do we educate our children?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@ImSorryYoureWrong

School supply budgets have dropped to the point that teachers now have to beg parents to donate supplies like copy paper, paper towels, etc.

You can't really pin that on the parents.  That sort of supplies shouldn't be the parents' burden.

ImSorryYoureWrong
ImSorryYoureWrong

@cassityg32 I must say, if you really are an educator, YOU are doing a horrible job of making claims without citing sources. I wasn't refusing to check up your claims, I was asking for specifics, which is a substantial difference. Perhaps the problem is the teachers after all.

That said, if a child's parent decides to be negligent and not provide their child with school supplies, it does unfairly fall into the school's hands. You are so right. However, this must happen at a shocking rate if schools cannot afford to provide paper and pencils for their students--which are extremely expensive items by the way. And if this is the case, wouldn't this clearly suggest that the overall parental populace is to blame and not the school? Just an idea.

Yes, supplies make a difference. I didn't say they didn't, I simply asked for you to clarify your statement. And, once again, you are making a mole hill into a mountain with your hyperbole. Which is also validating my belief that emotionally unstable teachers are the problem.

cassityg32
cassityg32

You can call BS all you'd like as you sit on your butt & refuse to actually check up on what im saying. School in the peoria district, dysart district & actually at least 70-80% of schools all over are facing these problems.

Your right, parents should be held accountable but regardless, if the child doesn't have the supplies holding a parent accountable doesn't make paper & pencils magically appear. So lets say "oh well, those kids are at a loss. To bad for them" & the student is lacking those materials needed to record information, study, & practice assignments so in turn they perform poorly on their tests.....ooh wait, I guess supplies DO make a difference in test scores. Hmmmm crazy

ImSorryYoureWrong
ImSorryYoureWrong

@cassityg32 I will. Tell me which schools this was at and I will happily donate supplies. Otherwise, I am calling BS. Also, I think the parents should be held accountable for the their children's school supplies and not the school. 

cassityg32
cassityg32

Ok, as far as supplies go, paper is a huge one considering a large percentage of kids do not supply their own in addition to copy paper. Most teachers are allotted 2 reams for the entire year. Also considering most kids learn visually rather than just being lectured to, visual aids are incredibly important. Of course things like materials to carry out SCIENCE experiments are in desperate need in most classrooms.

In regards to academic programs, many many students do actually participate if you check your stats. There are also those programs that are put in place for students struggling in reading & writing that the students are placed in rather than them volunteering. With more programs like these the teacher is able to work with more of the class as well as move through a lesson at a more regular pace rather than having to spend 70% of her time on 2 students who are having difficulty with the concepts. This eliminates behavioral issues as well.

In regards to books. Have you even stepped inside a classroom lately?? I've worked at 4 schools who had something like 5 science books for a class of 34, 12 reading books, zero math books. The students had to copy off the WHITEBOARD & considering many students had no paper or pencils (yes, new whiteboards & markers would make a difference) & I had 1 whiteboard marker that was fading it made it a bit difficult. Oh & of course the few history books were from 1991. This is common in SEVERAL schools all over the valley. Step into a classroom once & a while.

ImSorryYoureWrong
ImSorryYoureWrong

@cassityg32 Alright, you claim that supplies, academic programs and books are the way to enlightenment, which I partially agree with.

First and foremost, supplies. How the hell do supplies create better students? Do you really think a new whiteboard with markers is going to make a difference? Please clarify what you mean with "supplies".

Second, academic programs. I would say that these make better students, but, unfortunately, they only appeal to the students who wish to participate in said program. So, how would academic programs improve those who do not wish to participate? Perhaps a incentive is in order?

Finally, books. Yes. Books are helpful. In fact they're the pretty much the core of any education curriculum. So please, illustrate one instance where there is a school in Arizona that a.) does not provide books or (which you'll more like claim) b.) how the books are so old and outdated, thus affecting the overall potential of any and all students.

I know you're an intellectual heavy-weight (figuratively speaking), so please help me grasp your brilliant argument.

cassityg32
cassityg32

Well I can see I'm up against quite an intellectual here. You're obviously no match for me.

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