We've started our first week of standardized testing for the big state test. The second is in April. Last week the schools had big build-ups to testing. There were pep sessions, guest speakers, games and prizes, and all kinds of activities to stress the importance of the tests. All of this hoopla is a more recent addition to the test routine. My question is, does it help or hurt? With all of this emphasis on the test it seems that many more kids are showing stress before, during and even after the test and others seem to be more interested in the fun, skits, and hype than actually settling down to work hard on the test. I'm not sure the activities actually help them do better. Maybe we should just work harder on building skills and self-confidence daily. What are your thoughts?