NASD preps for exit tests this week

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 10, 2001

NATCHEZ — Students in the Natchez-Adams School District will take their second round of exit skills tests for the 2000-2001 school year this week.

Students in kindergarten to eighth-grade take the district-written tests in the fall, winter and spring of each year. Teachers use the tests to judge how students are mastering the skills required at their grade level as the school year progresses.

The tests correspond with state curriculum requirements and assess which child needs help and in what specific skill areas, said Joyce Johnson, elementary supervisor for the district.

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The students have been taking this and other tests in greater numbers in recent years and seem to be adjusting to the concept.

&uot;What has amazed us (is) it has finally (sunk) in that we’re going to be taking these tests,&uot; Johnson said.

The students are excited about taking the test and the teachers agree the test helps them track student progress, Johnson said.

&uot;The teachers are saying that this is helping them,&uot; Johnson said.

It helps them to know which skills need to be remediated, which skills need to be introduced and which skills need to be maintained, Johnson said.

&uot;This helps a teacher draw up her plans for instructing her students,&uot; Johnson said.

When looking at the pretest scores from the spring, the number of students that passed was low in many areas but Johnson said this does not concern her yet.

&uot;I begin getting real concerned at midyear (testing) if these scores have not grown,&uot; she said.

But when students took the pretest, it was the start of the school year and many of the students had yet to be taught some of the material on the test, Johnson said. As district officials already knew, the pretest scores pointed to a weakness in math by the district students.

&uot;We know that’s where we’ve got to concentrate,&uot; Johnson said.

The students scored better on the language arts pretest pointing to the district’s emphasis in writing, Johnson said.