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Louisville, KY (WDRB) -- JCPS students will join others across the Commonwealth taking a new much more difficult state test. Testing starts Wednesday and runs through Tuesday for grades three through 12.
Greenwood Elementary's 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are hoping to "Rock the Test" starting Wednesday. U of L cheerleaders were at the school for a pep rally where they got students to join in and chant "Rock the Test."
Greenwood's students will join others across the state in a new test called KPREP, part of the new Unbridled Learning program that looks at subjects such as math, reading, and science.
For years, JCPS and other districts have battled low test scores. It prompted Governor Steve Beshear to sign off on legislation in 2009 requiring school districts to come up with a new assessment and accountability system. President Obama even granted Kentucky a No Child Left Behind waiver after the state came up with a plan to use Unbridled Learning.
Sarah Hodges, a 4th grade teacher, says, "A little bit of nervous because it's new and nobody has really seen this kind of test before. But, my kids are really excited. We feel really prepared."
Hodges is going over a variety of subjects with her fourth graders to get ready for testing.
The Kentucky Education Commissioner says Unbridled Learning brings a more balanced approach to education, getting students college- or career-ready. He says test results and proficiency are going to drop, at least at first.
JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens says, "What we're going to do is learn from the results and improve."
Greenwood Elem. Principal Dylan Owens says, "I know here at Greenwood, we don't expect anything less than proficiency from our students. I look at our school as having some gains."
Owens took over the school in October. He says the last two years, the school didn't meet its proficiency goals. But now, he's focused on turning the school around.
A bulletin board recognizes the students' medals and achievements.. rewarding students last year who were "proficient" and "distinguished" -- the two highest levels of scoring.
Hodges says, "The test is a big deal, but we don't want to pressure on students and especially in younger grades that it's a be all end all."
Educators are reminding parents to make sure students get plenty of rest and get a good breakfast to get ready for the tests.