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From the principal: Tips for taking important tests

Dear BKW Family,

It is truly amazing how quickly the school year is going by. We are approaching the end of the penultimate marking period. This also marks the beginning of our testing season which continues through to the end of the school year.

In about a week, March 28 to March 31, our middle school students will be taking their New York State English Language Arts Assessments. The New York State Mathematics Assessments will be administered on May 2 to May 5. All students in grades seven and eight are required to take these examinations.

I am aware that test taking can sometimes bring a certain amount of trepidation for students. However, testing is an important part of a sound education program. Quality education is comprised of three components: curriculum, teaching and testing. All three components are equally valuable in students’ acquisition of knowledge. It is imperative that students are tested to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum being taught and the actual teaching of the content. Test results provide valuable information on the need for a revision of the curriculum and or the teaching methodology being used.

To me, an education system that does not include testing is similar to being told to take a road trip but without being given any direction and without being told the final destination. How could one possibly know if he or she is on the right path or when he or she has arrived at the correct destination? Testing is the evaluation tool that tells educators if they are taking the correct route, how far they are from the destination or if they have reached the destination.
In order for us at BKW Secondary School to continuously provide the best education for our students, we do need accurate data on students’ academic achievement levels.

So here are a few tips to help your child and the school during the testing season.

The first thing you should do if your child has test anxiety is to help him or her to understand that everyone who takes tests experiences some amount of stress. This is a normal reaction. It happens because there might be a fear of not doing well. Help your child to understand that this happens to everyone and that the level of anxiety will diminish as the test goes on. Fortunately, the upcoming seventh and eighth grade examinations are no longer timed. Students will have as much time as they need to complete the examinations, as long as they are still working. This should help to reduce the amount of stress. It also helps if students have a positive attitude about the test. Their teachers and I believe in them. Let them know they got this.

It is okay to do a little review the night before the test, but it is most important not to try and cram the brain with too much information. Ensure that your child gets enough rest the night before the test. People who get enough sleep the night before a test will have a better chance of doing well than if they did not get enough sleep. The brain needs fuel to function effectively. Sleep is the fuel that the brain uses.

On the day of the test please ensure that your child has a nutritious breakfast. We are able to think more clearly and be more focused with a full stomach than on an empty stomach.

Finally, if you take your child to school please make sure that they arrive on time so they can have some time to relax before the test begins.

If all our seventh and eighth grade students are present for these State examinations and the above tips are followed, we will have more accurate data on the effectiveness of the education program here at BKW Secondary School.

On behalf of the entire staff, I say to all students taking these examination, do your best and good luck!

Dr. Mark A. Pitterson
Secondary School Principal