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Teachers Have An Added Stress During Testing

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Monday, we reported accusations that state testing information was being shared with students at a Monroe Junior High School. This happened before they were given the actual tests.

The district's investigation hasn't turned up any proof that happened. The pressure for both teachers and students to do well on these type of tests has made national news.

What teachers have taught and what students have learned is put to the test at the end of the year. The morning is spent taking the actual tests; and in the afternoon students take practice tests to prep for the next day.

Retired Teacher, Rickey Fields, says "some students grasp things quicker than others. Some learn at a slower pace, some learn just like that."

Regardless, teachers like Fields say your performance is judged whether your students get the material, or not. Fields retired from teaching high school math a year ago. He knows how stressful this week can be.

He says, "you're working past hours. When you leave school, you're still working because you're trying to prepare for the next day. You're trying to prepare individually for each child."

Teachers are busy making sure students are prepared, answering any questions they have during the practice test sessions. Testing has always been difficult for teachers but this year, there is an added stress. Fields says, "now their job is depending on that, so their job depends on how good the students do."

This year, 50% of the student's scores figure into the teachers year-end, year-long evaluation. Ouachita Parish Assistant Superintendent, Don Coker, says "the other 50 percent is determined by the regular observations and evaluation their principals or assistant principals conduct in their class rooms."

For students the tests determine whether they'll move on to the next grade. Fields says that makes testing stressful for everyone.

A recent scandal in Atlanta revealed school officials were altering scores on standardized tests to better reflect on the students' and the teachers' performance.

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