For many students across Lincoln County this week it was time for a healthy breakfast and sharpened Number Two pencils. Some were stressing out as they prepared for End of Grade (EOG) tests.
â€œI hope that my hard work and the work of the students will be reflected on this one test,â€ said Trina Parker, a teacher at Lincolnton Middle School.
Students in grades third through eighth spent Monday through Wednesday taking math and reading standardized tests.
Those in grades third, fifth and eighth had something extra to worry about.
â€œThe bottom line is if they donâ€™t pass the test, they donâ€™t go on to the next grade,â€ said Ann Parsley, a counselor at Lincolnton Middle School.
Students in the gateway years who fail their EOG test have 10 days to cram for a retest. If they fail the retest as well, they have summer school waiting for them at the end of the term.
Although some teachers try not to emphasize the importance of the test, many students still find themselves stressed out the night before.
â€œI go to sleep early,â€ said John Dock Tallent, a student at North Brook Elementary. â€œI get in bed, even if Iâ€™m not sleepy. I lay there.â€
Parkerâ€™s daughter had anxiety the night before the test, and she received some sage advice from her mother.
â€œHoney, youâ€™re so freaked about going to sleep, you wonâ€™t be able to sleep,â€ Parker said.
In the morning, many students came to schools and were given breakfasts of biscuits, jelly and juice.
Even though many school staff members arenâ€™t happy about the emphasis placed on testing, they know the importance of the scores.
EOG test results help compare school systems, schools and individual children.
â€œI personally think testing is needed,â€ said Tina Kennedy, the stepmother of a Pumpkin Center Middle School student. â€œYouâ€™ve got to see what they know.â€
Not all teachers are happy about the state mandated standardized testing.
â€œI think there is too much emphasis put on testing, but, you know, our hands are tied, and thereâ€™s nothing we can do,â€ said Kay Howard, a teacher at North Brook Elementary.
â€œI think we work just as hard, and students learn just as much without these tests.â€
Organizing a testing week takes a lot of work from teachers and school counselors.
Walls have to be stripped of anything that may help students on tests, such as mathematical formulas or brainstorming charts.
Desks have to be put in straight lines with lots of space between each student.
Students who need to take modified tests must be identified.
Those who speak another language are tested separately, and many are allowed to use a dictionary.
After the calculators and number two pencils are put away, the students finally have time to rest.
â€œThey love all the relaxing activities we do after the testing is over for the day,â€ said Howard.
Following the last test on Wednesday, most students will have nothing more to worry about before summer vacation starts.
Some students even enjoyed taking their tests.
â€œI get all excited about it, just knowing if you pass, youâ€™re going to middle school,â€ said Wood Boyles, a fifth grader at North Brook Elementary.by Amy Wadsworth