Standardized testing underway in Morgan County schools
Compiled by Kathryn Schiliro
It's nearing the end of the school year, the weather is warm and the sun beckons and for local students and teachers alike, schools days are more and more becoming like a school "daze."
But, there is one final hurdle before abandoning it all for the sun-kissed days of summer...and that's standardized testing.
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Ralph Bennett explains the importance of standardized testing, and how it coincides (and doesn't) with the evaluations of a student's teacher throughout the year:
"There are essentially two types of assessments used in this teaching-learning-assessing process: teacher-developed assessments and standardized assessments. Both are important to a comprehensive and balanced assessment program. Both serve important purposes, although the tendency, in recent times, unfortunately, has been to downplay the role of teacher assessment. Effective teachers assess student learning on a daily basis. Because of this regular assessment, effective teachers collect a wealth of data about student learning over a long period of time. While teacher assessment is not 'scientifically' designed in the same manner as standardized assessments, because of their long-term nature, teacher assessments tend to be a very accurate measure of student learning. Effective teachers are constantly assessing students to determine how well students have learned what the teacher planned for students to learn, which students might need re-teaching, and which instructional strategies were most effective for groups of students."
"Standardized assessments are useful, also, in that these assessments provide a common, or standard, 'yardstick' from which information about student learning can be drawn. In Georgia, the state standardized assessments are used primarily to determine how well students are learning the Georgia Performance Standards, the state curriculum set as the learning standards for all students in the state. That's why these types of standardized assessments are commonly called 'curriculum-based assessments.' The standardized assessments we use in the State of Georgia are more short-term in the sense that they assess student learning for the year over a very short period of time, generally one hour or less for a subject area. Standardized assessments provide a broad picture of student learning that can be used to determine achievement of state standards and to benchmark student learning from year to year, or from assessment to assessment."
"Student assessments are important for two reasons, then. First, the data obtained from assessments is used by teachers and administrators to design instruction that helps students more effectively learn the Georgia Performance Standards. Second, the data obtained from assessments is used by teachers and administrators to track the progress of students toward meeting and exceeding these learning expectations."
Whew! While the reasons for standardized are many, the fact of the matter is that students must first be prepared for them and, second, just show up.
To that end, the College Board provides a list of test-taking tips that could be deemed useful for more than just high school students. Visit the College Board's Web site at www.collegeboard.com/student/plan/boost-your-skills/10296.html.
And, with the idea that showing up is half the battle, here's list of remaining tests for Morgan County students, according to Bennett:
The CRCT (or Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests), which applies to students in grades one through eight, will take place in Morgan County from Tuesday, April 14 to Monday, April 20, with make-up testing provided from Tuesday, April 21 to Thursday, April 23. CRCT testing in Reading, Language Arts and Math applies to grades one through eight, while CRCT testing in Science and Social Studies applies to grades four through eight, according to Bennett.
End-of-Course Testing (or EOCT, as education loves its acronyms) in Math I, Algebra, Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, Economics, U.S. History, American Literature and ninth grade Literature is slated for Monday, May 25 to Friday, May 29.
Advanced Placement (AP) testing runs from Monday, May 4 to Friday, May 15.
International Baccalaureate (IB) testing runs from Monday, May 4 to Friday, May 22.
Have questions about the testing schedule? Call the school! The phone number for Morgan County Primary School is 706.342.3475; Morgan County Elementary School, 706.342.5039; Morgan County Middle School, 706.342.0556; and Morgan County High School, 706.342.2336.
The payoff for these efforts? The Last Day of School is Friday, May 29.
PHOTO BY K. SCHILIRO
GETTING RALLY-READY Morgan County Elementary School students were treated to a pep rally Monday in preparation for the CRCT. Morgan County High School cheerleaders helped to rally the students, as did members of the band’s drum section.
PRINTED IN THE APRIL 16, 2009 EDITION