Testing kicks off with a bang and 'The Bull'

Sitting down to an exam never looked so fun Monday at Horace Mann Elementary School, where public officials and community leaders descended on the campus for a standardized testing kickoff celebration.

“We are trying to tell the kids that this is a celebration of their learning,” Principal Rosa Alonso said as she weaved through the crowd doling out high fives.

It is testing season for California public school districts. Horace Mann students, like thousands of others in grades 2 through 11 across Glendale Unified, are sitting for the California Standards Tests — commonly known as the CSTs — that assess proficiency in subjects including English, math, science and history.

They are administered during a one-month window in the spring, with school administrators setting the exact dates and times. Scores are typically released midsummer, and make up a school’s Academic Index Performance score.

Glendale Unified is in the thick of six weeks worth of testing, including California High School Exit Examination and advanced placement exams, which can earn top high school students college credit.

Pre-testing events are common, but Horace Mann’s is the most elaborate in Glendale Unified, officials said.

“We change it up a little bit every year, but I think this is actually the biggest one,” Alonso said.

Students were treated to performances by the Roosevelt Middle School marching band and cheer squad. Guests included the Glendale police and fire departments and Los Angeles Dodgers great Al “the Bull” Ferrara, who returned to campus for the third consecutive year.

Glendale Police Lt. Todd Anderson and others encouraged students to do their best.

“Your success comes from within,” Anderson said. “Every single day has to be a successful day.”

Last year, Mann earned an Academic Performance Index score of 831 out of a possible 1,000, a slight uptick from its 827 score the previous year. This year, the goal is 850, Alonso said.

Standardized testing gives the students the opportunity to show what they have learned during the school year, district Supt. Dick Sheehan said.

But it also means extra pressure for teachers and administrators that can be “very intense,” he added.

“It has become a high-stakes testing environment.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World