Arkansas students will take benchmark tests next week

    8:08 PM, Apr 2, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) For the next two weeks, students across Arkansas will be preparing and taking the benchmark tests.

    The annual benchmark tests are indicators of student learning.

    Maumelle Middle School Eighth grade teacher Rachel Blackwell wants her kids to do well on next week's benchmark tests.

    "I want to show everybody else, hey, we're a great school. Come to MMS," says Blackwell.

    Blackwell is helping her students prepare for the benchmarks by using previous test questions and games. The school's overall score is public and counselor Kelly DeVun says parents study those report cards carefully.

    "We get a lot of parents who shop around for their kids and find the best school for their child," says DeVun.

    Eighth grader Wandell Wright expects to score proficient or above on his benchmarks.

    "When I go to college, I want to show them I scored really high in my math," says Wright.

    Wright is part of Talented and Gifted or TAG. His previous benchmark tests qualified him for this unique program. High-performing students are also considered for the Duke Tip program that allows middle school students to take the ACTs or SATs alongside high schoolers.

    "If they do well on the benchmarks then they possibly may do well on the AP class," says DeVun.

    If they don't score well, students are placed in enrichment classes next year, which takes away one of their electives. Some students like Wright want to make sure that doesn't happen.

    The scores are also a tool for parents and teachers to use to determine what areas the student needs to focus on. If a student has a low score in reading, a parent could decide their child needs to take remediation courses or get extra tutoring.

    Making sure students are prepared for the big tests is a huge task for teachers because unlike in the typical classroom setting, the state does not allow teachers to help students who struggle over questions on benchmarks.


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