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Jennifer Johnson, deputy state school superintendent, explains the new tests for Arizona students that will replace AIMS. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

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Arizona spends $19 million for new standardized tests

PHOENIX -- State education officials awarded a $19 million contract Monday for a new set of standardized tests that students will start taking this spring.Jennifer Johnson, the deputy state school superintendent, acknowledged the test to be developed by the American Institutes for Research will not be directly comparable with Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards that it will replace. In fact, it will be so different from AIMS that the state Board of Education is already proposing a "hold harmless' period' so that schools and students won't be judged if their grades suddenly drop sharply that first year.