JENKS, Okla. -- Families across Green Country are feeling a collective sense of anxiety this week, as standardized state testing begins for their children.
The stress is perhaps highest for some of the youngest kids taking the reading test in third grade.
The third grade students at Jenks West Elementary will come back to school Wednesday to finish the second half of that crucial reading test, which could determine if they move onto the fourth grade.
The night before that big test was a little rough at Amy Steelman's house, as the bright smile that she normally sees on her eight-year-old daughter Hannah's face dimmed.
"Last night she had a hard time going to sleep," Steelman said about her daughter. "She was crying because she couldn't go to sleep and because she was worried."
Her daughter worried about the reading comprehension and vocabulary test that she and all the the third grade classes in Oklahoma must pass. The kids are aware of the high stakes because those who do not well on this important test may have to repeat the third grade.
"She is so smart and so intelligent that I knew she would do great on the test anyway," Steelman said, "but she was still nervous because she knew it was a big deal."
Last school year the State Department of Education reported that more than 48,000 students scored well enough to move onto fourth grade, but almost 6,500 kids did not meet the criteria.
Some of them still advanced because of exceptions and appeals, but Steelman said that pressure is too high of such young kids.
"It's a standardized test, and it's just a test," she said. "It's a lot of stress to put on eight and nine year olds, I think."
Steelman has three other children who will eventually have to take the same reading test, but her oldest daughter's smile came back Tuesday morning after she told her mom she felt good about how she did.
"I think she's going to be so much better for the rest of the week and not have those nerves and stress," Steelman said.
In addition to the important reading test, the third grade students will also take one on math at the end of the week.
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