School testing well under way

Published 3:32 pm Monday, April 5, 2010

Fourth-grade teacher Spence Payne said it best when he described, “Bees are buzzing, birds are nesting, and Shelby County students are busy testing.”

Spring is here and many spring breakers had time to relax and even took trips for a short get away, but now that they are back in school, tests are in full swing.

After experiencing the long-awaited break from school, students are now more rejuvenated and well-rested as they perform their best on the state and national exams. Teachers explain how they feel scores will be high and are proud of their hard-working students, who all seem eager to learn.

The first week of testing was the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT). This state-mandated exam compares all third- through eighth-grade students across our state.

Teachers began preparing the students from the first day of school, as they taught the students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. Students now feel confident and relieved as they undergo testing.

The students will also take the Standardized Achievement Test (SAT), the Otis Lennon Standardized Achievement Test (OLSAT), as well as others required of specific grades. These tests compare students nationwide.

Many students commented that the ARMT was much more difficult than the SAT and OLSAT. For example, Sarah, a fourth-grader, said “I breezed right through the SAT. It was the ARMT that made me worry.”

Another student, Nathan, stated “That was so easy.” Difficult or easy, testing can always be a nerve-wrecking time.

Typically, the teachers do not give homework during exam weeks. You may also find a class enjoying the sunshine for a few minutes after a hard day of testing.

Some schools have “buddy” classes. The “buddy” class provides encouragement and goodies to the class being tested. This really boosts the students’ confidence and morale. Another school gathers students who will be testing in the gym before they begin. The students being tested march through the hallways to the beat of “We Are the Champions” and “Rocky” as the younger peers cheer them on.

Parents also realize the importance of testing and try to get their children in bed earlier. A healthy breakfast gives students needed energy to think things through and do their best. This is recommended, and many students enjoy meeting early for breakfast in the cafeteria, which allows them some socialization time, too.

Although sitting still can be monotonous to young children, they are given permission to stand up and stretch at certain points during the test. Hang in there, students, testing will be over in about another week.

Kennedy Tolbert is the new community columnist for Wilsonville. She can be reached at