BOE: Students are practicing for writing assessments

Published 8:19 am Friday, December 19, 2014

Though state writing assessment testing is nearly two months away, students in Carter County Schools are already working under the theory that practice makes perfect.
During Thursday’s meeting of the Carter County Board of Education, members of the board heard an update on training and testing from Dr. Jeri Beth Nave, director of federal projects and testing for the system.
The writing assessment test is given to students in mid-Feburary, Nave said, but students have already been working through practice versions of the exam. The assessment is done on-line and for that reason Nave said practicing helps students gain experience with the test format and the needed computer skills before having to take the test.
Board member LaDonna Boone, who as an educator has experience working with students for assessment testing, asked how the system was helping the students prepare.
“They are allowed three practices before they have to take it,” Boone said, adding it is very important to student success that the children be given proper time for the practice exams.
Nave assured Boone the administration has been working with the schools to make sure students have access to the computers for the practice exams. The school system works with Measurement Incorporated Secure Testing (M.I.S.T.) Literacy Portal to provide students with the practice sessions as well as the actual exam so students get to practice in the same format they will test in.
“They’ve already been working on that,” Nave said. “They don’t have computer accessibility in all of the classes so they are going to the labs for that. They are getting their practice in, they really are.”
School staff have been scheduling computer lab time for each class to ensure students are getting to practice the exam, Nave said.
School administration began working in November to insure students were well prepared for the exam said Director of Schools Dr. Kevin Ward.
“What we wanted to do was get a good early start in December because you never know how unpredictable the weather is going to be in the County and we wanted to make sure we had enough time,” Ward said.
Lee Ann Carr, principal of Valley Forge Elementary School, said her school has been hard at work helping the students prepare.
“Each teacher in third, fourth and fifth grade has a scheduled amount of time they are required to be in the lab working on this,” Carr said. “We started working on it as soon as we could.”
Nave also reported to the Board the system has been working with teachers during the first half of the school year through training sessions to help them prepare for student assessments and testing.

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