TUCSON, Ariz. — It's that time of the year again: AzMERIT testing begins April 1. And it's high stakes for schools and districts. Scores are a big contributor to the final grades that they receive.
A Marana teacher prepares his students for test taking, not so much on the material, but on their mindset.
Positivity goes a long way in Jonathan Shult's classroom at Twin Peaks Elementary School in Marana.
"They feed a lot upon on our energy," Shult said. "And the more positive energy that we can show, the more that they're going to show about themselves."
When it comes to AzMERIT testing, he says that positive mindset is one of the most important factors for his third grade students to do well.
"The material is not really what we're worried about, because they're familiar with that," Shult said. "They've been taught that all year long."
Shult says he spends time going over the format of the AzMERIT so students know what to expect, and go into the testing period feeling confident and motivated to succeed.
It's also all about making the test feel like fun. Shult lets his students chew gum and have snacks during the test. They also get extra recess time on test days.
"So that it's something they're looking forward to," Shult said. "And we try to pump them up -- tell them to keep that positive mindset. If you come across things that are difficult, the best way to learn it is by pushing through it and continuing to try to be the best that you could be."
For all students taking the AzMERIT, Shult says this is your time to shine.
"To show all that hard work is paying off. By showing how well you can do on this test."
Parents can help their child do well by making sure they get a good night's sleep, eating a healthy breakfast, and promoting a positive mindset at home.