Benchmark Test Preps Underway in some Region 8 schools

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONEBSORO, AR  (KAIT) -- Oak Grove Elementary third graders are getting ready.  Benchmark testing begins in April and administrators in the Paragould School District are not wasting any time getting students prepared.

"We're doing it with all three elementary schools-- 3rd and 4th--so it's 20 classrooms," said K-4 instructional facilitator, Sheila Monroe.

This Benchmark Boot Camp is a district wide initiative to introduce and familiarize 3rd and 4th graders with the layout of these tests.

"I'm just giving them techniques and strategies to take the test," said Monroe.

For example, looking for key words and what to do when they see those words. Monroe says she uses released information from the Department of Education as a tool for teaching.

"They were a little afraid at first, but when you make it fun and you do it together and you give them tips and techniques that will keep them from being stressed and overwhelmed it helps," said Monroe.

"We emphasize it throughout the year, we don't wait until now to start talking about the tests," said Mala Weaver.

Teacher Mala Weaver says she starts introducing  tips and techniques for taking the tests early in the year, but she says now is crunch time.

"We've been building basic skills now we want to elaborate on them and really fine tune what we know," said Weaver.

With several days out due to inclement weather already this year, Sheila Monroe says they must wisely use every second they have left until testing.

"I'm trying to make up the time that they have missed.   It's very important that they get that," said Monroe.

Officials say testing begins April 12th.

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