05/28/06 — Local students will take state tests this week

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Local students will take state tests this week

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 28, 2006 2:03 AM

It's the moment teachers and students have been gearing up for all year: End-of-grade tests, which will be given this week for students in grades 3 through 8.

Following Monday's holiday for the school system, testing will take place Tuesday through Thursday.

Educators around the county are encouraging families to make sure children get plenty of rest, eat breakfast and come prepared to do their best on the state tests.

Beyond that, school officials are looking for hundreds of volunteers to serve as proctors to help monitor testing procedures and security.

Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant for accountability and student services, said with an estimated 8,862 students being tested over the course of this week, the need is great.

"For every class, small group or individual student tested separately due to modifications, a test administrator and a test proctor are required by law to be present," he said.

McFadden defined a test administrator as someone trained by the school system and who is on the district's payroll.

"Proctors, on the other hand, are simply adults who help ensure that testing procedures are being followed," he said. "Proctors range from parents to seniors citizens to school business partners. Many proctors are also volunteers from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base."

Schools have spent weeks lining up proctors to come in and assist with the testing. Unfortunately, for some, finding volunteers can be difficult.

At the elementary level, teacher assistants can serve as proctors, said Dr. Sandra McCullen, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instructor. There are not as many teacher assistants, however, in the middle schools, she added.

"Some schools literally have to pull in any employee who might be available during the testing process," she said.

The number of proctors needed varies by school, officials said. For example, Northeast Elementary School only needs 24 proctors each day of testing, while Greenwood Middle School requires 90.

"This is a mammoth task every year," said Selena Bennett, guidance counselor at Greenwood.

Schools that are most in need of volunteers include Spring Creek High School and Brogden and Rosewood middle schools.

Testing generally lasts about three hours on each of the three days. Volunteers may choose to serve for just one or two days if they are unable to commit to all three days.

The main thing is to maintain integrity in the testing process, said Nancy Outlaw, guidance counselor at Spring Creek Middle School.

"They will help distribute materials to the students. They also work to ensure students follow directions and do not share answers with one another," she said.

Potential volunteers are encouraged to contact Wayne County Public Schools or an elementary or middle school in their community to find out more information.