Students prepping for high-stakes testsPublished 12:13am Tuesday, April 30, 2013
VIDALIA — Concordia Parish high school students will be taking high-stakes tests this week, but district officials urge parents not to stress the consequences to their students.
Tenth-, 11th- and 12th-grade students will be taking end-of-course tests in six subjects — algebra I, geometry, English II and III, biology and U.S. history — starting Thursday.
The end-of-course tests have gradually replaced the Graduation Exit Exam, which ended last year.
To earn a high school diploma, students must earn a score of fair or above in three of the six subjects.
Students can earn a variety of scores including excellent, good, fair or needs improvement.
The tests also account for 20 percent of a student’s final course grades.
Secondary Education Director Rhonda Wilson said she urges parents to stress the importance of the test to their children, but to also not overwhelm them with the consequences.
“They just need to make sure they go into the test remembering the things they’ve been taught all year, and to not stress out over it,” Wilson said. “They can emphasize how important it is, but they don’t need to put too much stress on them to where they’re going to have a melt down.”
The end-of-course test is among several Louisiana tests that are being revamped in the coming years to align with more rigorous academic standards across the nation.
This year’s tests will include some questions that include Common Core State Standards material, which are being implemented in Louisiana, Mississippi and 43 other states.
Wilson said the questions in this year’s tests that include more difficult common core material are simply field questions and won’t count against a student’s overall score.
“As part of the transition into full common core material, they’ll often put field questions in to get feedback on how the students responded to those questions,” Wilson said. “But by the 2014-2015 school year, we’ll be fully implemented in common core material.”
Material for the math and English based tests will include the new, common core curriculum starting in the 2014-2015 school year. New tests are also being developed for science and social studies.
The previous end-of-course exam in English II measured a student’s ability to respond to a given topic presented in a text, while the next assessment would measure a student’s ability to analyze a text and draw evidence from reading passages to build an informational essay.
Testing for seniors will be Thursday and Friday. Other students will take the exams next week, Monday through Friday.