Metro first and second graders will soon begin taking standardized tests in a plan to help identify students' needs earlier.
The tests are a state initiative and are offered to districts at no cost. The goal is to get a better and earlier idea of where kids need help, because third grade - when students have typically began standardized tests - is sometimes too late.
Kirk Gilmore's second-grade class at McGavock Elementary School was hard at work Tuesday learning about proper capitalization.
But in a few weeks, the students will trade their dry-erase markers for No. 2 pencils as they take the Stanford Achievement Test.
"We would know their reading, their language arts, math and so forth as well as science and social studies, so we really have a baseline of where they are," said Brenda Steele, with Metro Schools.
For years, standardized testing has started in third grade with the TCAP, but school leaders said it is important to start on interventions and tailored instruction earlier.
"If we know where our students are we can provide them the necessary instruction in order to be better or to become more effective students," Steele said.
The test will be conducted in two parts, with the first round Sept. 18-20, and a second round in the Spring.
Each test will be an indicator of students' progress.
"The test they will take in September is like a pretest. It will determine are they really ready for first grade or second? We will know their skills, and the final test will let us know how they have grown. And that's really important," Steele said.
The district and individual schools will be sending out more information to parents in coming weeks. Officials said, just like with the TCAPs, it's important students get the rest and nutrition they need to do their best on the test.
It's also possible these test scores could be used for teacher evaluations in the future.
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