Idol contest preps students for tests

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
A.C. Moore Elementary School has come up with an inspiring and interesting method of getting students pumped up and prepared for the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th edition, (SAT 10) and the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT), which are being administered both this week and next week.
A.C. Moore faculty performed an American Idol parody in order to make the test-taking experience more fun and enjoyable for the students, according to counselor Jean Sands.
"The program was based around American Idol," Sands said. "The teachers did role-playing, showing things not to do while taking tests. It showed the do's and don't's of testing. After that, the teachers came back and told what they should have done."
The students enjoyed watching "Sleeping Sally," who fell asleep while test taking; "The Copy Cats," who cheated during a test; "The Energizer," who chewed gum, listened to an iPod(r) and drummed her pencil throughout the test; "Pencil Polly," who forgot to bring a pencil to fill in the test's blanks; "Artist Annie," who drew trucks and planes instead of filling out the test's answers; "Wendy Wetpants," who forgot to visit the restroom before test taking time; "Speedy Sanjaya," who took her test too fast; "Messy Bessy," who ate chocolate throughout the test and "Bubbling Bon-ita," who filled her bubbles on the scantron out in design-form.
After witnessing the "students" mess up their tests, the judges gave them another chance. Everyone did their best this time, to show the actual students at A.C. Moore how to truly behave when taking a test.
According to Sands, there was no winner within the performers of the Idol spoof, the winners were the A.C. Moore pupils.
"There was no winner among performers," Sands said. "The winners were the students of A.C. Moore because they are our idols."
A.C. Moore administrators have done other things to prepare for the two weeks of tests.
"The teachers have been practicing with them, constantly drilling them on academic materials, teaching them to fill out the grid sheets," Sands said. "We are rewarding kids each week if they do well on the tests."
According to Escambia County assistant superintendent, Mary Bess Powell, A.C. Moore Elementary School, Huxford Elementary School and Escambia County Middle School have all been preparing diligently for the standardized tests that are occurring.
"The schools have had pacing guides in place," Powell said. "The teachers know they have to cover the materials. They practice taking tests. On the math portion of the ARMT, the students have to explain how they got their answers and the teachers practice that with the children. The teachers and administrators work very hard to cover all the materials."
The results of the SAT 10 and ARMT are important for each school, according to Powell.
"There are very high stakes," she said. "These tests determine if the school needs improvement. Right now all of our schools have met adequate yearly goals."
Different grade levels are required to take different portions of the tests. Grades five and seven are required to take the science portion and grade six is required to take the social studies portion. All grades must take the reading, math and language portions.
"The kids have to take the Stanford and ARMT to test their proficiency levels," Powell said. "The SAT 10 and ARMT are two different tests that have two different results. It is an extremely complicated process but the bottom line is that we're testing the children on mastery."
See photos from A.C. Moore's Idol contest on page 14A.

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