Students Get Pumped Up Over State Testing

"So we're striving for what," yelled Dr. Janice Wilson.

"Five," shouted the children.

There was a good reason why the Central Elementary students were so fired up over the number five.

"Five, five, five," the students chanted Monday morning.

It was the eve of the Mississippi Curriculum Test, and they didn't want to settle for being a level four school.

"We are striving for a level 5, because you're going to test and what," asked Dr. Wilson.

"Do our best," the children answered.

"We're motivating students for MCT," said Dr. Wilson. "We're letting them know that they can test and do their best. That's our motto. And striving for level 5 because of course, that's the highest."

"I know ya'll going to bust the MCT test, but I want to hear it from ya'll," said one boy. "What ya'll going to bust?"

"MCT," they shouted.

The highlight of the pep rally was a famous Mississippian. State Supreme Court Justice James Graves peppered the children with questions.

"How many judges are there on the Mississippi Supreme Court," Graves asked.

"Nine," one boy answered.

"Nine. He's absolutely right," Graves said.

Justice Graves also handed out prizes to the students, and encouraged them to sharpen their minds.

"I hope all of you read and read well," Graves told the crowd.

Teachers understand their students have been through some tough times since Katrina, but they are not lowering their expectations.

"We are confident we have used every tool to our disposal to prepare the students," said Dr. Wilson. "So we're excited about taking the test, and showing that in spite of, or despite Katrina, we are still going to test and do well."

The rally ended with a special song, sung to the tune of "I Believe I Can Fly."

"We believe you can test. We believe you can do your best. We see you learning from day to day, Use your pencils and score away."

Again, despite Katrina, schools must meet state and federal standards. However, schools impacted by the storm can go through a special appeals process, if they dispute the test results. Also, students must attend the same school for at least eight months, in order for their scores to count, and because of Katrina, several state and national tests are postponed until next year.