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Homeschoolers Told to Take AIMS

Local school officials recently told a Coconino County family, the Runions (name changed to protect privacy), that because their children participated in the local public school choir, the children would be required to take Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test.

As the state assessment, the AIMS test evaluates a student’s performance in writing, reading, mathematics, and science. While some homeschooling parents may want to assess their children using a standardized test, this is not required in Arizona. Additionally, since the AIMS test focuses on the Arizona academic content standards, it is not a valuable evaluation for a homeschool program unless the family is using state curriculum.

Mr. and Mrs. Runion, who are members of Home School Legal Defense Association, believed that the school officials were wrong and contacted us for help.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt wrote to the officials, explaining the law. Under Arizona law, homeschoolers can participate in public school extracurricular activities. While homeschooled students must meet the same general eligibility requirements as public school students, they do not have to take the AIMS test. In fact, the section of Arizona law relating to the AIMS test specifically prohibits it from being applied to homeschooled students. (Choir is normally an extracurricular activity, but can be a cocurricular activity. If it is cocurricular, homeschooled partcipants could be required to take the AIMS test.)

HSLDA expects that the AIMS testing issue will be quickly resolved.

—by by Thomas J. Schmidt