Prepped and Pumped to Score Big
Pr. George's Schools on Watch List Pile On Drills, Cheers as State Tests Loom
By Nick Anderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 14, 2006; B01
This week, March madness sweeps Maryland public schools. Not over hoops, but over state achievement tests.
Nowhere is the frenzy more intense than in Prince George's County, where schools are battling to raise their academic reputation.
Last week in the cafeteria of Forest Heights Elementary School, an emcee rapped, drummers pounded, majorettes twirled batons and cheerleaders cried: "Pump it up, pump it up! You gotta gotta gotta pass the test! C'mon and pass the test! Pass it! Ace it! On the MSA -- the coming test -- we want you to do your best!"
A pep rally for a test.
At nearby James Madison Middle School, another scene unfolded: An algebra teacher drilled students on common mistakes after a warm-up for the tests, known as Maryland School Assessments. Seventh-grader Fredrece Clingman raised her hand and asked whether all the advance fuss might backfire.
"They put us under so much pressure to take these tests," the 12-year-old said as class ended. "Then when we take them, we just go blank. We don't know what to do. Sometimes I go blank."
The rest, here.