COVINGTON -- All Newton County second- and sixth-grade students will participate in standardized testing next week.
Beginning Monday, all Newton County second-graders will take the Cognitive Abilities Test, otherwise known as the CogAT, while sixth-grade students will take the norm-referenced Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, or ITBS.
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, according to Dr. Carl Skinner, director of testing for the Newton County School System.
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," Skinner said. "With this information, the school can plan appropriate learning experiences."
Sixth-grade students will spend approximately five hours on the ITBS over multiple days.
The ITBS reading section requires a student to read different types of passages -- fiction, poetry, fables, interviews, biographies -- and to answer questions about facts, the 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.
For both grade levels, Skinner said parents can help their students be successful by making certain their children get plenty of sleep each night before the test and providing a nutritious breakfast each morning.
They also should make sure their children are in school and on time each day and if their student wears glasses, make sure he or she takes them to school.
Students do not need to study for these tests, Skinner said.
"Above all, parents should encourage their child to do the very best he or she can without creating anxiety," he said. "If parents have any questions about the tests, we encourage them to contact their child's teacher or the school's administrative staff."