"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pep Rallies, Barf Bags, and A Palpable Hysteria

Ten years from now, the survivors will look back on these late days of testing child abuse and shake their heads. From South Carolina--a new job for the librarian--faculty cheerleader:

. . . .Percentages of students scoring “proficient” or “advanced” on PACT exams are used to determine adequate yearly progress results required by the federal No Child Left Behind education law. PACT scores also are key components in annual report cards rating South Carolina public elementary schools, middle schools and school districts.

But testing primarily is about students, not about how test results reflect on schools or teachers, said Mr. Smith, a Greenville resident and former educator.

Calhoun Academy of the Arts in Anderson and Honea Path Elementary School were the sites Friday, along with other campuses, of pep rallies designed to raise student excitement about PACT.

“If (students) are truly motivated … then they can do a lot better,” said Penny Tritt, a guidance counselor at Calhoun Academy.

The rallies were partially a chance to pass along last-minute reminders to students about the importance of sleeping enough before each testing day and eating a good breakfast on exam days.

Honea Path Elementary Principal Mark Robertson said this week he is trying to say something positive to students over the school intercom system each testing day.

Palmetto Middle Principal Barry Knight said students have worked hard the entire school year, and he would hope their mindset during testing week would be “one more of ease and relaxation.”

“This (testing) should only be a minor bump in the road, and nothing nearly as major as some folks try to make it out to be,” Mr. Knight said.

This year is the first since science and social studies testing began in 2003 that only students in grades 4 and 7 are to take exams in both those subjects. Students in grades 3, 5, 6 and 8 are to be tested in either social studies or science.

Regular PACT testing is to last through May 16. Some field testing, or exams for which scores don’t count, and make-up testing is to continue through May 22.

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