TerraNova tests no cause for stress

Sheri Byrd
Kaiserslautern American
TerraNova test-taking tips

– Get plenty of sleep during testing week.

– Eat a good breakfast, including a drink. The brain needs fuel and hydration to function its best.

– Bring plenty of No. 2 pencils.

– Relax. These tests are to aid students, not to grade or judge them.

– Listen to and read directions carefully. Make sure the teacher is audible, and the directions are clear. Students may ask for additional explanation on tests.

– Plan the time allowed for each test. If a question is too difficult, a student should move on to the next, returning to it later if time permits.

– Students should trust their instincts. Often, when a student is familiar with the subject material, the first answer selected is the best.

– Do not guess blindly. Students should eliminate those answers they know are wrong and choose from the remaining ones.

– Keep a positive attitude. Students cannot fail this test.

(Courtesy of Ramstein Intermediate School)

Students in the KMC from third to 11th grade are preparing for a week of standardized testing, March 14 to 18. The TerraNova tests measure achievement levels in the subject areas of reading, language arts, math, science and social studies.

The schools use the test scores to determine student strengths, as well as areas they may need some extra help in, said Cynthia Breedlove, guidance counselor at Ramstein Intermediate School. Additionally, schools use the scores as a tool to make adjustments in their Continuous School Progress improvement plans.

“We can identify students who need classes that offer an extra boost in a certain subject, or students for our gifted education classes,” she said. “Also, the teachers get a breakdown of their entire class, and of all the students in their grade, to determine what direction to take to best meet the needs of most students.”

At the high school level, the tests are also used to plan courses and make staffing determinations for programs such as gifted education, reading and math labs.

“The results of the TerraNova indicate one picture of a student’s achievement,” said Patty Carden, ninth- and 10th-grade counselor at Ramstein American High School. “They have no effect on school grades, promotion to a higher grade, or acceptance to colleges or universities.”

The tests are given each morning, altering the afternoon schedules at each school for the week of testing. All medical or dental appointments should be scheduled for outside testing hours.

Parents will receive a copy of their student’s results in the mail before the end of the school year, and have no effect on the student’s regular report card.

“This is not a test students can study for,” said Ms. Breedlove. “So they can just relax, do their best, and not worry about it.”

The results from each school will be compared with other Department of Defense Dependent Schools, and with other schools in the United States.

Parents can view past TerraNova results from KMC schools at www.odedodea.edu/data/district.cfm?dodaac=HE3630.