It was the school’s annual academic pep rally to get students motivated for standardized tests being administered this week.
“Just like when you have a pep rally for a football team, you’re doing it to pep them up,” said Principal Lynwood Hawkins. “Same way for a basketball team, you’re doing it to pep them up and get them prepared mentally to do well, to win and to progress. And so we’re doing the same thing for our students.”
Students will take the Alabama Reading and Math tests today and Tuesday and the Scholastic Aptitude Test on Wednesday and Thursday.
STATS, short for “Students Taking All Tests Seriously,” was the cheer that echoed through the auditorium and the students responded in kind. They cheered. They screamed. They stomped. Their enthusiasm filled the auditorium.
Maybe it was the excitement of getting out of class for an afternoon.
Showcasing their own talents was part of the rally, whether it was classmates in the band, others who performed a rap written about what they could accomplish if they succeeded on the tests — “diamonds on my neck” — while still others danced and stepped and cheered on stage.
Of course, faculty and staff showed their own support to get the students excited about doing well.
The results of these tests help determine whether the school will make adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act. The act is up for renewal and the new rules may change the way schools are judged.
“I look for there to be a pretty major shift that’s going to be closely resembling national standards,” said Anniston City Schools Superintendent Joan Frazier. “I don’t know what form that’s going to take in terms of what tests are going to be given.”
Currently the most recognized national testing programs at all grade levels are the National Assessment of Educational Progress. At the high school level, students take the SAT and the ACT to prove they’re ready for the rigors of college.
But until those rules are decided, the schools will still be judged on the tests the students take this week and the schools will do whatever they have to do to help those students succeed, Frazier said.