Illinois parents, it's time. The moment your kids have been getting ready for since kindergarten: State testing.
Many third through sixth graders will began taking their ISAT exams Monday.
Students at Monroe Elementary School in Quincy say they're excited to take the ISAT. It's something new for them, as third grade is the first year kids have to take the state-required test.
Third-grader Lilly Lewis says it makes her feel older and more mature to finally be taking the test this week and she already has a plan of action.
"To just relax and look at the test and do it," said Lewis.
Students at Monroe actually start the testing Tuesday. When they come in to school, they'll first get a good break, get those jitters out, and then it's down to business,
Where behind closed doors, the tests will be broken out and the assessments begin.
This year's test is changed up a bit from past assessments. Twenty percent of the questions are now aligned with the new "Common Core" standards.
Monroe Elementary principal Julie Stratman says she doesn't know exactly what will be on the test and she doesn't know what the scores will bring, but she says she hopes it can give teachers and parents more insight into just what their children are learning.
"Any more information that we can get on a child and what they're doing and how they're learning is gonna be better for us in the long run," said Stratman.
Stratman says as this test evolves into the new PARCC test she hopes more and more specific information will be made available to educators so that they can help better prepare their students later on to take bigger tests in high school like the ACT.
While the state tests are serious, teachers say it's not necessarily the questions that are tough, but the way the tests are taken.
Third grade teacher Amy Jones says the hardest part for her is not being able to reach out and give a student that energetic push they need.
"I can't say anything to them you know. But I know there's certain kids that just to give them a pat on the back or you know rub their arm a little bit or whatever to keep them going," said Jones.
Testing will be over for Monroe Elementary students by lunch time, and the school will be using afternoons to provide fun activities for the students to kind of make up for the time spent taking such a stressful test.
And some of the K-2nd grade classes have buddied up and "adopted" third grade classes, sending them notes of encouragement and cheering them on in this rite of passage for students.
Stratman says it's important to be your child's cheerleader when they get home from school today.
She says not to bring up the test, because you don't want to overwhelm your kids, but she says to ask them how their day was. If they mention the test, ask how they did. And whatever their answer, Stratman says it's important to let them know you only expect them to do their best.
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