The stresses of benchmark testing

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Kids and teachers all across Region eight are gearing up for the benchmark exam.  How well students do on the test can affect their schools and their teachers.

Ashley McDole's third grade class is ready.  Benchmark tests start Tuesday and that has many students on edge.

"I am kind of nervous about it because it's brand new for me because we just started it in 3rd grade," said Tiffany Bunnell.

"I'm just wondering what it's like.  If it's hard or if it's easy," said Elizabeth Cox.

These students have the information, but transferring that information onto paper is nerve-wracking.

"It's more math than we did in kindergarten to second.  It's a lot of writing," said Bunnell>

"The benchmark is such an important test because it's a state test," said McDole.

McDole said she knows it's important and the kids know it's important but they try not to let the stress overwhelm them.

"They're just children and they're coming in to take a big test," said McDole.

"I'm worried that whenever I take the benchmark I'm going to freeze up and I'm not going to do well," said Cox.

McDole said practice tests should help.  Encouraging students and cheering them on helps build up their confidence level.

"We want them to feel good about what they do we want them to know they did their best and that we did our best to help them," said McDole.

Bunnell said she will be nervous but plans to jump right in and get started.

"I think it's just something I'm going to have to pass through quickly with the test," said Bunnell.

"The same things we've always been told still hold true:  a good night's sleep and a good breakfast can make a difference.

"We try to make them comfortable we let them know as long as we know you did your best we're super proud," said McDole.

She said it is important for parents to encourage their children and tell them how important the test is.  It's a fine line teachers have to walk between teaching the kids and scaring them about the test.

The 3rd grade starts their testing Tuesday and it runs through Friday.  They will finish around noon everyday.  Some students in other grades started testing today.

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