An increase was seen this year in the number of Arizona schools that earned grades of "A," but overall, more than half were identified as "B" and "C" schools.

This is the second year that the Arizona Department of Education has utilized the letter grading system to measure how well schools are performing. The results were made public today.

The state also released AIMS scores for schools today.

Search for AIMS or letter grade results from a particular school or district in the accompanying databases.

Of the nearly 1,300 traditional schools graded across the state, only 283 were awarded "A's" this year, compared to 2011 when 231 schools earned that designation.

More than half — 865 — were awarded "B's" or "C's."

Locally, the same trend held true, with 42 of the nearly 200 traditional schools earning "A's," up from 37 last year.

Still, most Tucson-area schools — 124 — found themselves in the "B" or "C" categories.

No schools statewide were given "F's" — a grade reserved for those that have been ranked "D" schools for three consecutive years.

When assigning letter grades, the Arizona Department of Education considers AIMS scores, graduation and dropout rates, the reclassification of English-language learners and student growth year to year.

AIMS scores were also released today, showing a slight improvement in scores this year across the state in all subject matters.

Each year, Arizona students in grades third through eighth and in 10th grade are required to take the high-stakes test to measure their mastery in math, reading, writing and science.

The gains in each subject area were marked by a 1 to 2 percentage point increase from 2011.

Sixty percent of students statewide passed the math portion of the test compared to 59 percent in 2011 and 57 percent in 2010.

In the area of reading, there was a four percentage point increase from 2010 when 73 percent of students passed. That rose to 76 percent in 2011 and 77 percent this year.

After seeing a significant drop in the percentage of students passing writing from 2010 to 2011 — from 71 percent to 56 percent — a slight increase was noted this year with 57 percent of students passing.

The initial decrease in writing scores was attributed to a revision to the test that reflected higher academic standards.

The increase of one percentage point in writing suggests that students are now leveling to the new standard, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

A two percentage point increase was achieved on the science test, with 60 percent of students passing that portion of the assessment.

"We continue to show increases each year with our AIMS scores across the spectrum," said Arizona Schools Chief John Huppenthal. "Not only have we made progress this year, but anticipate greater progress in coming years."

Read more in tomorrow's Arizona Daily Star.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at or 573-4175.