Students ready for state testing

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 10, 2010

NATCHEZ — After weeks of preparation, many Natchez-Adams School District students are ready to tackle the MCT2 this week.

Testing begins Tuesday for students in third through eighth grades.

The Mississippi Curriculum Test measures student growth from one year to the next and helps teachers and administrators determine what progress is being made, McLaurin Elementary School Guidance Counselor Monica King said.

“It is kind of like a report card for teachers,” she said. “But it isn’t all based on how well you do, but on how well did you improve from the last test.”

McLaurin student Brian Johnson, 9, however, said he wasn’t too worried about the test because he felt prepared.

“We have been going over a lot the past few weeks,” Johnson said. “And I study every night on my computer — I’m shooting for an advanced grade.”

The reading test will be administered Tuesday, and writing and mathematics tests will follow on Wednesday and Thursday.

At McLaurin, and in other schools in the district, blocks of time are set aside to focus on areas in which students came up the shortest in pre-tests.

During the block time at McLaurin, fourth grader Jamira Smith, 10, was in class getting prepared.

“We’ve been going over things I don’t know in class,” Smith said. “We’ve been reviewing for the MCT2.”

During the weeks, Smith said she has been concentrating on compound sentences and double-digit multiplication. She said she is confident now.

“I did well on the test last year,” Smith said. “I think I’m going to do better this year.”

Because students at McLaurin were going through extra work for these tests, Principal Alice Morrison said the school thought it was important to reward them.

“I took them in small groups, explaining the importance of the test and that they would have to be flexible because they would be going through intense instruction,” Morrison said. “And they’ve adapted really well.”

McLauring students who are present on test days this week will automatically be entered into a contest to win prizes, including bikes.

Parents of students who will be testing this week should make sure the students have a good night’s sleep each night this week. A healthy breakfast and an encouraging word should be morning musts, administrators said.

Parents should realize, officials said, that the students may feel stress this week. Playing relaxing games or having quiet time at home may help alleviate their worries.

Scores from this week’s testing will factor into overall accountability ratings the district and individual schools will receive. Last year, the Natchez-Adams School District was labeled, “at-risk of failing.”