Arizona, New York Tests Made Open

K-12 Testing

Members of the public will now be able to review state tests in both Arizona and New York. The controversial Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) exams will be open for public review due to the settlement of a court case brought in 1999 by the Arizona Republic against the state (see Examiner, Spring 2000). FairTest had filed a legal memorandum in support of the newspaper’s position. While the suit only sought release of the 1999 tests, the state agreed to release all existing and future exams on a regular basis.


Originally, this year’s high school seniors, about 70% of whom failed the latest round of tests, would have been required to pass the exams in order to graduate. The deadline for high-stakes use of the exam was pushed back to 2006 after high failure rates and strong criticism from parents, teachers, students and others across the state.


In a surprising move that reduces test secrecy, the New York State Department of Education notified all superintendents and principals that test booklets used for fourth and eighth grade exams are no longer considered “secure” and, therefore, do not have to be sent to destruction sites. A host of mistakes by test publisher CTB/McGraw Hill led parents and teachers to call for access to the exams in order to review them for fairness and accuracy and to compare the test items directly to students’ answers.