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Holman: Test Preparation Begins Long Before Spring

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Holman: Test Preparation Begins Long Before Spring

Overton County Director of Schools Donnie Holman said sticking to the planned curriculum all year long better prepares students for testing than ramping up right before the testing window.

Students across the Upper Cumberland are preparing for April testing. Holman said he has stressed to teachers that they must make every moment count, starting in August. He said cramming right before the test often stresses teachers out, and students become stressed themselves when they sense that extra pressure.

“We just need to continue teaching right up until the test,” Holman said. “Of course, we’re going to do some reviewing and so forth but we don’t need to stress ourselves or stress our students out right before the test because we should have been, and we have been, you know, we have been utilizing every moment to the maximum.”

Holman said educators used to use the phrase, “Push to TCAP,” but Holman said he would rather push from day one. He said the heightened sense of urgency likely stems from teachers’ desire to see improved scores from last year. He said educators want parents to be pleased by test results, but the best way to achieve that is through strong time management all year, not just in April.

“We want to teach well all year long, do a good job, and do effective teaching all year long with the best practices that there are, following our lesson plans and our curriculum guides and so forth all year long,” Holman said. “And then just ease into testing and encourage our students to not be stressed. Just do the best you can.”

He said he likes to view a student’s development like running laps on a track. He said each year, he hopes for students to achieve one lap, and if possible, more. He said this line of thinking helps remind educators to give an extra nudge to students who are behind and may need to run more than just one lap through the school year.

“We can do our best to not only teach them what we need them to know right now, but maybe get them caught up some,” Holman said. “And I think that’s really exciting not only to the teachers, but to the parents as well because we parents want nothing but the best for our kids and if our children are a little bit behind in something, nothing would please us more than for them to get caught up.”

Holman said he will remain steadfast in encouraging teachers to get students prepared for standardized testing through continued consistent instruction.


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