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Clarke students confident about tests

Clark Elementary’s hallways carried the distinct smell of freshly popped popcorn on Wednesday, a treat for students that gave a full effort on the Alabama Reading and Math Test.

The ARMT is the second of three standardized tests put before third and fourth grade students this week. Beginning with the third-grade class, the test targets specific grades to gauge progression. Test results are tied in with Adequate Yearly Progress.

“It’s kind of unfair that we have so much pressure placed on them,” said third grade teacher Aubrey Larkin. “As a teacher, I try not to present that to them.”

Despite the pressure, Larkin felt confident that his students did well on the exam. “They looked like they were paying attention. They were giving it their all. [I asked them], ‘How’d you do today?’ They all gave me a big thumb’s up and a big smile. In years’ past, that hasn’t let me down.”

His students appeared equally confident in their results.

“I think I did really well,” said Tamira Prince. “It’s not very hard once you think about it.”

Prince and three of her classmates — Amani Riley, Kendarious Smitherman and Christopher McMillian — even said that they enjoyed the test.

They said that they were well prepared for the exam, citing Larkin’s “traffic light” question system. The answers to green questions are easy to find in the reading material; yellow questions are easy to find, but require some thinking; red questions require the student to stop and think before answering.

“It helped me relax,” said Kendarius Smitherman. “Mr. Larkin is the best teacher in the world.”

The test asks a variety of reading and math questions, but the students heavily favored the measuring part. Each student measured items pictured in the test booklet with a ruler and chose the item’s correct length.

“We had to measure a grasshopper and a moth,” said Prince.

The third and fourth grades will complete their standardized testing with the Sanford Achievement Test today.