Gearing up for standardized tests now

Published 9:03 pm Monday, March 29, 2010

Three things could separate a prepared student from an unprepared student when it comes to testing. Students need rest, breakfast and should remain calm.

“They need to make sure they have had breakfast because nobody can take any kind of test on an empty stomach,” said Tipton Middle School guidance counselor Yolanda Thompkins. “You’re going to be thinking about ‘I’m hungry, let me finish this up so I can possibly go to eat.’”

Selma City and Dallas County students will take the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test, ARMT; the Stanford Achievement Test, SAT 10; Alabama Science Assessment and Direct Assessment of Writing during this week and next week.

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Meadowview Christian School students will finish the SAT 10 test this week and Morgan Academy students will take the SAT 10 next week. Central Christian did not respond.

Exact testing times vary by school, so please check with each school for scheduling.

“This is really testing what they have learned throughout the year,” Thompkins said.

Students are tested on basic skills that should have been acquired in each grade.

“They get a study guide, but there is no way you can take this study guide and cram for it because it’s testing your knowledge over the whole year of what you have learned,” she said.

Instead, students are encouraged to review main concepts, pay close attention to each question and remain calm.

“Take their time, as far as trying to stay calm, and read each question carefully, then try to go with their first and best answer,” Thompkins said.

Once students complete the testing section, they are also encouraged to sit quietly for the remainder of the allotted time.

“You can distract others, and they don’t want you doing anything to distract others.”

Testing periods range from 50 to 90 minutes.

Testing occurs in the first half of the day, not long after school begins.

“We recommend students get to school on time and that parents don’t schedule doctor’s appointments in the mornings,” said Mamie Solomon, testing coordinator for Selma City Schools.

Results from the tests determine if a school passes the Adequate Yearly Progress report. This standard is part of the No Child Left Behind initiative to have all schools and systems achieve 100 percent of their accountability goals each year in reading, math and other factors such as attendance or dropout rate.

ARMT is for students third through eighth grade, SAT 10 is for students third through eighth grade, Alabama Science Assessment is for fifth and 10th grade students and the Direct Assessment of Writing is for fifth, seventh and 10th grade students.