Posted by John Denker
On August 2nd, the Arizona Dept. of Education released the 2012 AIMS results and other data.
I plotted up some of the data in the form of maps, so that you can easily see the location of the high-scoring schools and the low-scoring schools. The plots along with some explanation and analysis can be found at
It is also possible to download the .kml files so you can interact with them using the google-earth application. If you hover over a school, it will tell you the name. If you click on a school, it will tell you the address and some of the scores. You can select TUSD and/or any of the six outlying districts.
- The non-AIMS data is calibrated against national norms, which makes it more useful than the regular AIMS data.
- None of the data is worth very much, because it is all based on trivia tests. Doing a good job of coping with a trivia test is nothing to be proud of. On the other hand, not coping with a trivia test is cause for alarm.
- The data partly agrees with conventional wisdom but partly not. In particular, there is a semi-circular nimbus of relatively well-coping schools on the edge of town, extending from the northwest clockwise around to the southeast. This stands in contrast to the downtown and southwest schools, which are not coping nearly so well. On the other hand, there are exceptions to the notion that "geography is destiny", including some downtown schools that score much better than their neighbors.
Remember the proverb:
Be careful what you test for; you might get it.
It would be a monumental mistake to judge any student, teacher, school, or district on the basis of trivia tests.