Schools rally students to boost morale in advance of next week’s tests

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Pep rallies may be a common practice at high schools on Friday afternoon before the big game, but what about rallies before testing?

Those were the kind of pep rallies that were popular Friday at schools across Concordia Parish as students readied for the LEAP, IOWA and GEE tests they will take Monday through Friday. &uot;My brain is red hot, sizzzz,&uot; was one of the chants at Vidalia High School, along with &uot;I think I can, I know I can, I can.&uot;

The motivation could be seen at Ferriday schools afternoon pep rallies as well. Students sang songs and teachers gave inspirational speeches to get students excited about testing.

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&uot;If you’ve got your head on straight, do a good job and don’t be late,&uot; one seventh-grade class at Ferriday Junior High sang.

Superintendent Kerry Laster reminded students at Ferriday Upper Elementary the importance of getting a good night’s sleep each night before the tests and eating a good breakfast in the morning before testing as well. &uot;I just want you to come Monday and do your best,&uot; Laster told the enthusiastic crowd.

Students in grades four and eight will take the LEAP 21 test, or Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century.

Tenth graders and any retesters, upperclassmen who have not passed the test, will take the English and math portions of the Graduation Exit Exam, or GEE 21.

Eleventh grade students and any retesters will take the science and social studies portions of the GEE 21. Seniors who have passed all parts will not have to test.

All other grade levels will take the IOWA, nationally standardized achievement test to measure the students’ skills.

Beginning this fall fourth-grade students must score basic or above on either the English/language arts or the math test and approaching basic or above on the other test to be promoted to fifth grade, according to information from the Louisiana State Department of Education Web site.

For eighth-graders, they must score approaching basic or above on both the English/language arts and the math test to be promoted to the ninth grade.

But in 2006 eighth-graders must score basic or above on one of the tests and approaching basic on the other to pass eighth grade.

Students who were in the 10th grade for the first time in 2001-02 school year and thereafter are required to score approaching basic or above on the English/language arts and math test and either the science or social students test to graduate with a standard high school diploma.

There are five levels a student can achieve on the tests:

Advanced, superior performance beyond the proficient level of mastery.

Mastery, competency in &uot;challenging&uot; subject matter and being well prepared for the next level of school.

Basic, only

&uot;fundamental knowledge&uot; and skills needed for the next level of school.

Approaching basic, only partial demonstration of fundamental knowledge and skills for advancing to the next level of school.

Unsatisfactory, not demonstrating fundamental knowledge and skill to advance to the next level of school.