published Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Achievement tests going on all week

by Dan Whisenhunt

Local students are testing their skills all week as part of the state’s annual Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program achievement exam.

TCAP testing began Monday and local schools pumped up their students with pep rallies, boot camps and sock hops, according to Hamilton County Schools spokeswoman Danielle Clark. The test measures core skills in subjects such as math, reading and science of students in grades three through eight.

Paula Burgner, principal at Spring Creek Elementary School, said its teachers put on skits Friday afternoon to get students in a positive mood. Music was played in some of the classrooms Monday to motivate students.

“We all had to have a smile on because this was a positive day,” she said. “I think a lot of times everybody dreads it. We tried to make it just like every other day.”

Burgner said next year the tests will count as part of a student’s overall letter grade.

“It’s going to be a little harder because the standards have gone up,” she said. “But when the state says this is what you do, then this is what you do.”

Kirk Kelly, director of accountability and testing for Hamilton County Schools, said the message going out to parents is to make sure students get a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast.

The state Department of Education’s Office of Assessment reports that results should be available by late May or early June.

Contact staff writer Dan Whisenhunt at dwhisenhunt or 423-757-6481. Follow him on Twitter at

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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