Vidalia Junior High students finish preparation for LEAP exam

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

This time next week there won’t be anything mock about it.

Eighth-graders at Vidalia Junior High will sit for long hours in their desks, stretch their brains to the limit on math problems and leave their academic future in the hands of the test graders.

But of the 69 teenagers who attended the last of four LEAP mock tests Monday night, most feel like they are in pretty good shape.

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Attending the practice sessions helped take the pressure off for Meagan Smith, who said she was feeling ready because of Monday night’s math run-through.

&uot;As long as the LEAP is as easy as this, I’m OK,&uot; Smith said.

Since February, VJHS, the school in the district with the greatest performance drop on last year’s LEAP test, has offered mock testing sessions on Monday nights. From 3:30 to 7:30 students tested on either language arts, social studies, science or math, had a free meal and graded their own papers while a teacher reviewed the answers.

Students could take the graded tests home with them to review their mistakes and later discuss with teachers if needed.

The sessions were not mandatory, but were highly encouraged by teachers and administrators.

Reading teacher Sarah Cotton said Monday she was happy with the attendance at the last of the four sessions. The attendance of 69 was the highest of all the sessions. VJHS has around 120 eighth-graders.

Of the 69, 39 had attended all four sessions and were rewarded with a bracelet and T-shirt. The lowest session attendance was 53.

&uot;It’s getting easier since we’ve been practicing,&uot; Chelsea Warren said. &uot;It’s going to help me on the test.&uot;

Sydney Guidroz was one of the students who attended all four sessions. She said Monday’s math test wasn’t all that difficult.

&uot;I’m here so I can be more prepared for the test,&uot; Guidroz said.

For Janee Watts the motivation was the same, but there was an extra push from home.

&uot;I’m here so I can do better,&uot; she said. &uot;My grandmom said she wanted me to come and I’d be in trouble if I didn’t.&uot;

The LEAP test will be given at VJHS and other Concordia Parish schools all next week.

Fourth- and eighth-graders take the LEAP, while all other grades will take the IOWA test.

Fourth- and eighth-graders must pass the LEAP in order to move on to the next grade. The scores also weigh into the overall district’s performance ratings.

VJHS will open their computer lab tonight and Thursday night from 5 to 8 p.m. for students and parents to do online practice tests for the LEAP.