Schools tackle practice tests

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 1999

Natchez-Adams School District elementary students are getting their second dose of teacher-written tests this week. The tests are designed to assess student knowledge of grade-level skills. They also prepare students for state testing in the spring.

&uot;The more practice children have on standardized tests, normally, they are going to do better,&uot; said Mary Kate Garvin, assistant superintendent of elementary education.

The tests seek to pinpoint where students need help, not teaching a test, she said. They also help students become more familiar with scantron sheets and the test format of state tests.

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&uot;The test frustration and test anxiety will diminish somewhat,&uot; Garvin said.

Students took a similar test in September and will be tested again in April. The series of tests helps teachers assess improvement during the year. &uot;I think the test is going to give us a better understanding of how our curriculum is meeting the needs of the students,&uot; Garvin said.

On the September tests, students scored so high that teachers have made this month’s tests more difficult.

The tests will also include more questions and require more work.

The district is raising the passing rate from 67 to maybe as high as 80 percent, Garvin said.

Students at Frazier Primary School took the English/language arts section of the test Monday. They will also be tested in math, science and social studies, said Principal Demetria Reed.

Reed said she can already see improvement from the September testing. &uot;It seems they have learned some skills,&uot; Reed said.

Even though the test is harder, Garvin said it is impossible to predict how this will affect the scores.

By the spring 2001, students will be required to attend extended &uot;summer&uot; school or repeat a grade if they don’t master the skills in exit tests.