Just as schools in Ahwatukee are starting and finishing their spring testing of AIMS, incoming freshmen for next school year are beginning to wrap their heads around the idea of their familiar testing coming to an end.

Last month, Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a replacement test for Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards, or AIMS. The new assessment, known as PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is expected to be fully implemented to high school students by 2017.

According to a schedule by the Arizona Department of Education, the assessment known as PARCC will be phased in for the spring semester of 2015, affecting incoming freshmen.

Kyrene Akimel A-al eighth-grader Mya Carrizosa said she hopes the PARCC assessment will help overall test scores for students.

“I think it’s a good idea just because there is a lot of interpretation for multiple choice,” she said, regarding AIMS’ current format. “There’s no chance to explain why you feel your answers are the right answers.”

In an effort to better measure student learning since the implementation of Common Core State Standards, key differences in the PARCC assessment include providing questions for literacy that draw students “into deeper encounters with the texts” rather than sets of random questions of varying quality, according to the PARCC website.

“It’ll help to be able to explain yourself and give a clear answer,” Carrizosa said.

For mathematics, the new assessment will also shift to reflect Common Core with conceptual questions, multi-step problems, and applications will be common.

Though the state standards were adopted in 2010, full implementation of Common Core will coincide with PARCC’s introduction to students. Current high school juniors will be the last group of students who will need to pass AIMS for graduation.

Despite adult concern through the community about a loss of local control within school districts since Common Core hit curriculum, Carrizosa is optimistic.

“We’ll just have to see when we take it.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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