Students prepare for TCAP testing month

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. March means standardized tests are arriving on the desks of thousands of District 51 students, who have been preparing all year.

"We do a lot of math practice at home," said Sarah Hecht, who has two daughters at Thunder Mountain Elementary School. "We also do tutoring just for extra help. We just make sure we're practicing our skills."

3rd through 10th grade students will be taking TCAP, or the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, to show how much they've learned this school year.

Hecht helps her daughters, Alyssa and Ashlynn Hecht, prepare for the tests not only by going over practice questions, but also putting them to bed early and feeding them healthy breakfasts before they get to the classroom on testing days.

"Providing nutrients to their brain to be able to think and sleep is going to be able to help them think and think about all the things they do know and apply them," she said.

While test scores are used to evaluate a students' academic level, District 51 reminds parents and students not to stress about them.

"Just show what you know because you've spent all year learning this material, so do the best that you can," said Sean Taylor, director of assessment for District 51. "We have our teachers try to focus our kids in that direction, so it doesn't become anxiety filled."

This is the last year District 51 will use TCAP.

The new PARCC tests, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, will debut next school year for reading, writing and math.

New science and social studies tests through CMAS, or the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, are being used this school year.

All of the testing will be done on computers for CMAS and PARCC.

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