High schools prep for testing

Published 12:26 am Friday, February 26, 2010

Testing for the Alabama State Graduation Exam will begin next week at Pike County and Troy City high schools.

There are five subject areas being tested: reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies. Each area will be tested on a different day throughout the week.

“The spring testing session is our largest session,” said Charles Henderson High School principal David Helms. “Some ninth graders will begin testing if they already have the proper course credits, but it is mostly tenth graders.”

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“The tenth and eleventh graders who have yet to take certain portions will test and the twelfth graders who have not passed certain portions will test also,” added Pike County High principal Mike Hall.

Goshen High’s Al Griffin said some students who have already finished school but were unable to graduate because they haven’t passed will take the test.

“We’ll actually have a few students who are out of school, but due to not passing a portion, they were unable to graduate,” he said.

At each school, the daily schedule will go on as normal for students not testing.

“We’ll just pull those students eligible for testing from classes,” Griffin said.

“There is no time limit on any of the tests,” Helms said. “ So students will just return to classes like normal once they are finished.”

Testing is mandatory by the state of Alabama for all public schools. “Students cannot graduate without passing all five parts,” Helms said.

“The tests serve as a measuring stick for the state,” Hall said. “The scores are essentially like a report card for us. All the core subjects are tested, and the results tell us how we can improve or what areas we should focus on.”

Scores should be returned to students at the end of April or in early May.

Each school has been helping students to prepare for the exit exams in many ways.

“Our teachers develop lesson plans according to what the state mandates we should teach in each area,” Helms said. “If we teach what we’re supposed to, students should do well. We have also had some extra tutorials for seniors who have not passed yet.”

PCHS has offered preparation classes during the past month as well. “We’ve had several teachers volunteer to teach some remediation courses to help students prepare,” Hall said.

GHS also provides tutorial sessions.

“Our intervention strategies include pull-out tutoring based on previous scores. We help students with their weak areas and use past results to see what we should focus on in tutorial sessions,” Griffin said.

“Because of our preparation, we expect to do well this year. Our goal is for all students to pass the first time,” he added.

But the school is not the only place where preparation occurs. Parents can help students to prepare by assuring their teens get adequate rest during the week.

“Parents should make sure the teens are getting to school on time,” Helms said.

“The state requires us to have at least 95 percent participation, so eligible students must be present and on time.”

“Kids need to eat a good breakfast,” Griffin said, “and parents can help students to avoid arguments with siblings or friends. It’s important the students have a steady emotional level.”

Griffin said its key students be more focused this week even than usual.

“I already gave the students a pep-talk,” said Griffin.

“I told them that parents, the school boards, even the whole community, know the seriousness of these exams and that we all encourage them to do well.”

“I tell the students to bring their A game every day, but they should bring it especially these five days.”