Arizona schools are doing better but still need improvement, said John Huppenthal, the state’s superintendent of public instruction.
Six months after the College and Career Ready teaching standards were fully implemented, the transition is going smoothly, he said.
“The math and language arts are excellent standards,” Huppenthal said. “The transition for Arizona has actually been going better than other states even though other states got hundreds of millions of dollars to do all of the training.”
In Arizona, some teachers were trained to be trainers at their own schools. Most states adopted the Common Core Standards, as they are known in many states, to make curriculums consistent throughout the county and to require students to be critical thinkers.
“Anytime you transition into a new set of standards it’s very traumatic for the education system so we are seeing stress in Arizona but we are seeing less stress than other states,” Huppenthal said.
In the coming months, the state board of education is going to review six tests from six companies to replace the state's standardized test or AIMS. Once a test is chosen the Legislature is going to have to approve funding for it.
“The governor’s budget has enough money to purchase a new test,” Huppenthal said.
The new test needs to be more accurate for students who exceed standards and for those who are falling behind, “because the previous tests were very inaccurate for those students,” Huppenthal explained.
“We’ve done a pretty good job in the middle but not at the upper end and not at the lower end," he added.