Taking the CRCT does not have to be high stress

April 10, 2013 

Georgia students are in a bit of a frenzy as they sit for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. These tests may help decide whether students proceed to the next grade or stay put. Some students, in the midsts of all the coaching, test prep and mentoring, literally, freak out.

All of our preparation is miniscule compared to some other countries. In China, the gao kao tests that determines which colleges students can attend is an even bigger deal. Construction stops in testing cities, flights are rerouted and traffic is detoured away from testing sites. Parents visit temples and shrines with prayers for their children’s success.

That may be going a bit overboard, but there are a few things parents can do to assure the best outcome. Parents don’t have to go out and hire tutors with college degrees, but they can make sure their children aren’t sleep deprived.

One of the most common maladies teachers face are students that are just too tired to focus in class. Some because of work schedules, others because they’ve been up half the night texting friends or playing games. The habit of children getting at least eight hours of rest shouldn’t begin when the shadow of the CRCT comes calling, but should be a standard rule. Growing minds and bodies should get as much as 10 hours of sleep a night. Now may be just the time to wrest that smartphone away from their clutches for a few days.

All students have been reminded over and over how important these tests are, but parents and teachers, too, should be careful not to stress children out. The CRCT is designed, not as a tool to determine the best school in a district or identify teaching flaws, although it has been used to do all of the above. The CRCT is designed to help teachers and administrators identify subject areas where individual students need improvement.

If your child returns from school with a harried look on his or her face this week, the best things they can hear are words of encouragement from their No. 1 fan.

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