Students get ready to LEAP with mock tests

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; A large group of eighth graders filed into Vidalia Junior High on Saturday. It must be for sports or some sort of fun outing, right?

Not exactly. Vidalia Junior High is offering mock LEAP testing for its eighth graders to help them prepare for testing in March.

&uot;Environment is key,&uot; said eighth-grade math teacher Charles Anderson.

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Research shows, he said, the thing &uot;that actually help scores is to put them in the environment so, in March, it seems like it is not their first time.&uot;

Students took the math portion of the mock test this Saturday.

Principal Henry Murphy said the mock testing &uot;takes the edge off. … It makes them feel like it’s an everyday thing. It should give them a better feel of what is going to be on there.&uot;

The school started mock testing last year and found success, continuing it this year.

The first mock test, in language arts, was Jan. 17. A mock social studies test will be Feb. 21, and a mock science test will be March 6. All tests will be in the cafeteria from 8 a.m. to noon.

Anderson said he will analyze mock test scores and target areas to work on with individual students before the actual test.

Anderson said eighth graders are only required to pass the language arts and math portions of the LEAP test to advance to ninth grade. Passing is not dependent on the science or social studies scores, although they are no less important, Anderson said.

Mock testing is not the only way the junior high is preparing students for spring testing. Starting just last week, the school started night tutoring sessions that will continue for six weeks, until testing time.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, the computer lab is open for eighth graders to use test preparation materials from the state.

Four teachers will monitor each night to make sure the computers are functioning properly and to offer assistance, but a parent must accompany each student. The purpose is to get parents involved, a goal the school has set for itself.

&uot;The parent sits there with them so they realize the challenge the student will face,&uot; Anderson said.

Tutoring is also available for sixth and seventh graders, who must take the Iowa test in March. Passing to the next grade does not hinge on Iowa scores.