Arizona Parents Sue Test

K-12 Testing

Arizona’s statewide graduation exam has come under fire from a group of parents who claim the test discriminates against Spanish-speaking students. Claims against the test have been added to a seven-year-old law suit charging the state with failing to adequately support programs serving students with limited English proficiency.


The Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards, or AIMS, will be used to determine whether students receive a high school diploma staring in 2001. The case contends that the all-English exam will unfairly penalize students newly acquiring English. Arguments presented in the lawsuit point to the state’s failure to provide resources necessary to enable English language learners to acquire needed skills. The parents’ claims echo the findings of two national Latino organizations which have recently released statements criticizing high-stakes testing (see related article).


Testimony by Gene Glass, Associate Dean for Research at Arizona State University’s College of Education, showed that proportionately three times as many Hispanic and African American students will fail the test as Anglos. A decision on the case is expected this fall.