AIM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is AIM?

The Achievement Improvement Monitor (AIM) is a statewide assessment and reporting program in English and Mathematics for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

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What is the purpose of AIM?

The AIM program provides an indication of how well the literacy and numeracy skills of students are developing in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, and the results provide a useful source of feedback and guidance about future learning needs to students, parents and teachers.

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What does AIM test?

The AIM Assessment Program is made up of tests in English (Reading, Writing and Spelling) and Mathematics. The tests are based on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS), the curriculum used in Victorian schools from Prep to Year 10. All questions are associated with a Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) standard, and a skill descriptor identifies the particular focus of each question. Tests are designed to assess students’ abilities to apply their skills in Reading, Writing, Spelling and Mathematics. Although they are not designed as diagnostic tools, student response patterns can help identify certain points of strength or weakness in their learning.

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How are tests conducted?

The tests are pencil and paper tests conducted at the school by teachers.

During the tests, students answer a number of questions, solve problems and write responses to show what they know and what they are able to do.

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When will my child be assessed?

AIM tests for Years 3, 5 and 7 take place in August each year. AIM tests for Year 9 take place in May. From 2008, all tests will take place in May.

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Who assesses my child?

AIM tests are administered by teachers and are conducted at school. However, the tests are set and marked by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). This is the Authority that provides curriculum and assessment for Prep to Year 12 in government and non-government schools.

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Why have AIM tests in addition to other school assessments?

Both the AIM tests and school assessments provide valuable information on your child's learning. They show how your child is performing against the Standards. AIM tests also provide information to help schools compare the results of their school and students with other schools and students across the state.

Together with other assessments conducted in class, teachers can use the results of AIM tests to:

  • monitor the progress of students in each class
  • diagnose strengths and weaknesses of individual students
  • adapt teaching programs to suit the particular needs of individual students.

Information gained from AIM English and Mathematics tests will be used for reporting against national benchmarks. These benchmarks describe minimum acceptable standards for students across Australia in the areas of English and Mathematics. Students who do not achieve these standards are likely to have difficulty making satisfactory progress at school without additional assistance.

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Why is my child's AIM test result different from the classroom teacher's report?

AIM test results should always be viewed in the broader perspective of ongoing and overall performance. Whilst both teacher designed assessment tasks and AIM tests focus on assessing students’ progress against the VELS, there is no reason to expect that the results from them will always be identical. 

This is because:

  • AIM tests focus on specific aspects of English such as Reading, Writing and Spelling and specific aspects of Mathematics such as Number, Space, Measurement, chance and data and Structure.
  • Assessments made by teachers include all aspects of the English and Mathematics Standards and are based on what students have shown they can or can’t do over a longer period of time (e.g. two terms) and in a range of different tasks
  • AIM tests are taken by all students at a particular point in time and students can perform exceptionally well on a particular day, or not so well.
  • Some students enjoy and perform well in test conditions – others perform better in a more familiar setting without the ‘one-off’ more formal pressure of a test.

If you want to know more about your child’s results overall, contact your child’s school to discuss their progress in detail.

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How will my child’s results be reported to me?

Results from AIM tests are sent to schools for distribution to parents. The personal report tells you how your child is achieving in English and Mathematics compared to:

  • the standard expected of students at that year level when tested
  • the middle 80% of all students
  • the statewide average for all students in Victoria.

AIM parent reports also show student performance compared to national benchmarks for reading, writing and numeracy. National benchmarks represent the minimum acceptable standard below which students would be expected to have difficulty progressing satisfactorily at school.

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Further information

  • Acronyms and terms are defined in the VCAA Acronyms and Glossary
  • Where to Now? - an online Guide to the VCE, VCAL and Apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • DEECD Parents page (www.education.vic.gov.au)
  • Parent Update (www.education.vic.gov.au)
    a free email newsletter that will keep you 'in the loop' with the latest information and changes to education in Victoria
  • Parents Victoria (www.parentsvictoria.asn.au)
    a statewide organisation representing parents of students in Victorian government schools.

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