School Gets Students Fired Up For New Tests

High schools across the Coast are getting students prepared for serious tests coming up. Next week, most Mississippi high school students will take new state tests that they must pass in order to graduate.

Up until now, students took what's called the "Functional Literacy Exam." That exam is gradually being phased out and replaced with more rigorous Subject Area Tests. The year when students begin the ninth grade determines which tests they must pass before they can get a high school diploma.

Hancock High School held a rally on Thursday, complete with cheerleaders, to get students pepped-up for the tests. The school wants these students to put away their game face and put on their testing face.

"We're trying to get them excited," Principal Donnie Gholston said. "We've got some skits that we're going to do, some musical numbers, just to get everybody involved cheerful about it."

Through music, cheers, and skits, the school wants students to get the message that the new Subject Area Tests are not just fun and games. That's because students enrolled in Algebra One, Biology One, English Two, and U.S. History must pass those tests.

"This needs to be serious, they need to be here, and I just want the parents to understand that this is part of the graduation requirement and very important to their future," Testing Coordinator Kim Saucier said.

With the school cheering them on, many students are ready to score high marks.

"This really helps us to get excited and pumped up about it, and I think it was a good way to start and get prepared," student Brooke Necaise said.

"I'm taking it pretty serious," Jenna Dubuisson said. "I like to make good grades, and I want to do good, so I hope everyone else does."

The testing starts Tuesday and runs through Friday. Results should be released in Mid-July. If students fail any subject area they are allowed to take the tests again.

You can learn more about these tests online at the state Department of Education web site.