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More information about the CRCT can be found online at the Forsyth County school system’s Web site, www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.
One Forsyth County principal says students shouldn’t get too stressed over the weeklong round of testing that begins today for first- through eighth-graders.

Liberty Middle School’s Connie Stovall said students should think of the CRCT — or Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests — as an opportunity to “show how hard you’ve worked this year and make yourself, your parents and your teachers proud.”

The tests cover subject matter taught this school year in math, science, social studies, reading and language arts. Among other aspects, the results help determine whether students in third, fifth and eighth grades move on to the next level.

Stovall said she encourages her teachers to take the motivational approach rather than telling students they won’t go to the next grade if they don’t do well.

“I encourage my teachers to not put too much pressure on them, to let their students know that they have prepared all year long for this, and it’s not something they should go home and cram for, because it’s not that kind of test,” Stovall said.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the state holds schools and school systems to certain assessment standards on the CRCT.

Failure to meet those measures comes with consequences and labels such as “needs improvement” and failure to meet “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP.

Stovall suggested some pointers for students to consider prior to tests this week. Among them:

• Get a good night’s sleep the night before tests.
• Set an alarm to get up on time the next morning “so that you’re not rushed.”
• Eat a healthy breakfast. “Make sure it’s protein packed, not sugar packed.”
Stovall said an exam takes more than two hours, so “eating a protein-packed breakfast is a big thing.”

To relieve some stress, Chestatee Elementary School held a pep rally Tuesday afternoon, so teachers could show students appreciation for their academic work.

Stovall said it’s usually third-grade students who get the most stressed over the exams. For the first time, they have to read it on their own and “bubble in” their answers on an answer sheet.

First- and second-grade teachers read questions to their students, who are allowed to mark answers in the actual test booklet as opposed to a separate answer sheet.

“By the time they’re in middle school, they don’t get as stressed out about it,” Stovall said. “They’ve been taking it since first grade ... they’re all pros by then.”

E-mail Frank Reddy at frankreddy@forsythnews.com.