Designed to measure students' comprehensive grasp of state standards, the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests are administered every spring.
Typically, students in grades one through eight are tested in the subjects of reading, English/language arts and mathematics. Additionally, students in grades three through eight are assessed in science and social studies.
Due to state budget constraints, however, first and second grades will not take the CRCT this year. In Cherokee, individual schools have been given authority by the district to use various other instructional assessments to test those students.
With pressure for students and teachers to perform well on the CRCT, schools not only take time to review material, but also to prepare students psychologically and emotionally.
For example, Teasley Middle School in Canton is holding a "Prep" rally today at the school after a week of daily activities that included faculty skits, student videos and a school-wide countdown.
"All year, we have been focusing diligently on academic preparation so we wanted to use this week remind students of test-taking strategies and reminding the students that they know the content," Principal Dr. Susan Zinkil said.
She added the school plans to celebrate a perfect attendance day next Friday after the tests are finished.
"I am confident the students will do great due to their hard work and the hard work of the staff," Dr. Zinkil said. "We are hoping the results of the recent writing test are an indication of how well the students will do."
Teasley Middle saw the county's greatest gains on the eighth-grade writing test by increasing the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards by 13 percent.
Johnston Elementary School in Woodstock held a pep rally on Thursday for its third- through sixth-grade students that included an appearance by Freddie Falcon, mascot for the Atlanta Falcons NFL team.
Students learned the acronym "S.A.C.K" in order to "tackle" the tests - sleep, arrive early, excited and ready, check your answers and keep your cool.
Principal Gena Hood said the atmosphere on campus is "upbeat and determined."
Clayton Elementary School also got a visit from an Atlanta pro sport mascot this week.
Thrash from the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers visited the school on Wednesday for a pep rally.
The theme was "Thrash the CRCT."
"Thrash's tips for success include: get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, be sure to read the questions carefully, bubble answers in correctly, do your best and try hard," Principal Beth Long said.
Some classrooms even shared motivational songs and cheers they created throughout the week to boost morale.
Students at Arnold Mill Elementary School in Woodstock will get a special visit from their neighbors at River Ridge High School (RRHS) today.
The older students will perform skits about having confidence and taking time on the test among other tips for their counterparts.
"Many of the RRHS students are former Arnold Mill students," Principal Ann Gazell said. "They also have experience with high-stakes testing and can therefore better relate to our students."