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All Newton County second and sixth-grade students will participate in district-wide testing next week.  Beginning September 10, all Newton County second graders will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) while sixth grade students will take the norm-referenced Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS).

According to Dr. Carl Skinner, director of testing for Newton County Schools (NCSS), the CogAT contains a series of subtests that provide information about each student’s level of cognitive development in relation to reasoning and problem solving. Testing is completed over several days and takes approximately one and one half hours.

“Results of these tests are used to gain a better understanding of the student’s academic strengths and weaknesses,” said Skinner. “With this information, the school can plan appropriate learning experiences.”

Sixth-grade student will spend approximately five hours on the ITBS although it will be administered over multiple days. Results of the tests, which should be available in October, are used to gain a better understanding of each student’s academic strengths and weaknesses.

The ITBS reading section requires a student to read different types of passages—fiction, poetry, fables, interview, biography, etc.—and to answer questions about facts, main idea, or conclusions that can be drawn. For the mathematics section, skills tested include: concepts, computation, estimation, problem solving, and interpretation of data. In addition, a vocabulary section and tests in language, social studies and science will be given.

No matter what the test, Skinner said parents can help students be successful by making certain their child gets plenty of sleep each night before the test and providing a nutritious breakfast each morning. Be certain your child is in attendance and on time each day and if your student wears glasses, make sure he or she takes them to school. Students do not need to study for these tests and Skinner advised that cramming will not help.

“Above all, parents should encourage their child to do the very best he or she can without creating anxiety,” said Skinner. “If parents have any questions about the tests, we encourage them to contact their child’s teacher of the school’s administrative staff.”