TOM BURNHAM: Simple regimen can help children succeed in testing

By Tom Burnham

Does your child attend a Star school? Under Mississippi’s new accountability model, schools and districts earn a designation based on student performance. Those designations are, from highest to lowest, Star, High Performing, Successful, Academic Watch, Low Performing,
At-Risk of Failing and Failing. It is important that parents and communities know what designations their schools receive.
One of the most important factors in determining the rating is how well students perform on state assessments. Next week, the Mississippi Curriculum Test Second Edition (MCT2) will be given to students in the third through eighth grades. Students will be tested in Language Arts (reading and writing) and Mathematics. The MCT2 was developed using national standards and is a very demanding assessment for students.
Before any assessment, students may experience test anxiety, so it is important for parents and guardians to help their children relax so they can do their very best. Children have worked hard all year to gain knowledge, comprehend information and master skills. It is important to communicate to them that now is the time for the hard work to pay off and the MCT2 is an opportunity to show their teachers and parents just how much they have learned.
Along with the tips that are listed below, helping children stay calm, focused and relaxed can ensure they perform well on the MCT2:
Proper rest – Throughout the year, students have been engaged in physical activity so that their bodies and minds are fit and ready to learn, but ensuring that students rest well each night during the assessment administration is also very important. As parents and guardians it is critical to ensure that your child receives the proper amount of rest, which may mean turning the television off an hour earlier and going to bed earlier than usual.
Nutrition – Your child’s nutrition also plays an important part in performing well on assessments. Nutrition experts recommend that students eat a breakfast consisting of a protein and a carbohydrate food, such as cereal with a fruit bar; peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk or 100 percent fruit juice; cheese toast with cereal and milk; cream cheese on a sliced bagel with milk or 100 percent fruit juice; and a string cheese stick with a cereal bar and milk or 100 percent fruit juice. Students also need to drink plenty of water or 100 percent fruit juices to stay hydrated.
n Practice test – As parents and guardians, you can also administer practice tests to your children. To prepare and review for the MCT2, practice tests can be viewed at Go to Frequently -Visited Agency Links and click on MCT2 Practice Test.
We all want our schools to reach or maintain Star status and we all have a role to play.

Contact State Superintendent Tom Burnham at

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