Test results help schools measure, meet student needs
CLINTON — State testing is under way and will continue through mid-May. For schools, the tests are about much more than rankings and accountability.
“State tests assess what students have learned and provide insight into a student’s progress,” said Kim Griffin, the Clinton Public School District’s director of testing and federal programs. “It measures the academic performances of students but never determines a person’s worth.”
Each state measures student progress in reading, math and science. In Mississippi, schools administer the Mississippi Curriculum Test, commonly referred to as the MCT2, in grades 3-8. The Mississippi Science Test is given in grades 5 and 8, and the Subject Area Testing Program, or SATP, is given for students in Algebra I, Biology I, English II and U.S. History.
“These assessments provide valuable information for our school district, our schools and our teachers,” Griffin said. “We constantly look for ways to improve, so of course, measuring growth in student achievement is a key piece to the puzzle.”
CPSD encourages parents to be aware of the testing schedule and help their children prepare. It’s normal for students to be nervous about the tests, Griffin said, but test prep in the weeks prior to test dates helps lessen student anxiety.
“We ask that parents not schedule any appointments on test dates and keep weekly activities to a minimum during this time,” she said. “Please stay positive when discussing testing with your children. The state tests are a great way for children to show off what they’ve learned this school year.”
On testing dates, it’s important that children are well rested, eat a good breakfast, and arrive at school on time or early.
“Please encourage your children to give their very best on the test,” Griffin said. “If children are anxious, good strategies are to take deep breaths, stay focused and remember that the tests are an opportunity to shine.”
CPSD teachers also have worked hard to prepare students.
“There should be no surprises for students on the state assessments,” said Assistant Superintendent Tim Martin. “Not only do our teachers teach the necessary skills, they also focus on the format of the test so students know what to expect.”
In addition to measuring students’ learning, test scores also help school districts plan professional development for teachers.
“They allow us to celebrate our strengths and to see our areas of weakness,” Griffin said. “We try to meet the needs of every child, and the data helps us identify those needs.”
For upcoming test dates, visit the Clinton Public School District calendar at http://clintonpublicschools.