Testing season begins for Natchez-Adams

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The closed doors, ultra quiet hallways and neatly sharpened No. 2 pencils at Natchez-Adams Schools this week can only mean one thing &045; testing season has started.

Though students won’t face the biggest standardized test until May, a series of smaller state and federal tests are already under way.

Today and Thursday fourth- and seventh-graders will take the Writing Assessment, which tests skills taught in all classes and benchmarks set by the Mississippi Language Arts Framework.

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The students’ scores on the test will factor into each school’s and the district’s overall accountability rating.

The test will be given at McLaurin and Morgantown Elementary schools and Robert Lewis Middle.

Natchez High students will take the English II Writing Assessment.

While the fourth- and eighth-graders are taking the Writing Assessments, fifth- and eighth-graders will be on the second day of the Mississippi Science Test, a new test given this year.

The science test is being developed by the Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi educators and The Riverside Publishing Company. Once fully developed the test will be aligned with the Mississippi Science Framework and in compliance with the No Child Left Behind requirements.

The test is multiple choice and covers grades three through five on the fifth-grade test and grades six through eight on the eighth-grade test.

District test coordinator Charlotte Franklin said the results of the science test will be used to provide information to improve instruction.

The first operational administration of the test will be in 2006.

In sixth grade this week, students are taking the TerraNova test. This test is not used to develop state accountability ratings but shows how Natchez-Adams students compare with the rest of the country. TerraNova tests reading, language and math.

TerraNova and science testing will continue until Friday, including makeup test days.

Morgantown Elementary Principal Fred Marsalis said the high number of tests made the school a stressful place right now.

&uot;We try to make it comfortable,&uot; Marsalis said. &uot;But it’s hard not to get stressed when you have as many tests as we do. We try to keep them relaxed and confident. I applaud our kids, they are more on task.&uot;

Marsalis encouraged parents to get students to school on time, make sure they eat a healthy breakfast and get plenty of sleep. Most testing is done in the mornings.

After this week the next standardized test will be at Natchez High April 26-29 when Subject Area Tests are given. Students must pass the Subject Area Tests in order to graduate.

The Mississippi Curriculum Test in reading, language and math will be given on May 3-5 with make-ups on May 6. All students in grades two through eight take the MCT, and it is a major factor in school accountability.