Learning Center


Celebrate with The Test Ladies

March 1, 2019

Ever since Kristina Smekens introduced the idea of a Test Lady™, signs of that lady’s true identity have been popping up all over. Here are some great examples of how different schools are celebrating the idea of making the audience for test-writing a “real” person. Check out some of these pictures! Wouldn’t you want to write your best on the test for these Test Ladies?

Washington Discovery Academy

Kim Riddle, Bryan Kratzer, and Amanda Dreibelbis, teachers at Washington Discovery Academy (Plymouth, IN), will do whatever it takes to encourage their students. These Test Ladies (and Gentleman) were found subbing at their school. Do you know what time it is? The Test Ladies have arrived at WDA! Go Wildcats!

Smith Elementary School

Teachers at Smith Elementary (Martinsville, IN) did an ISTEP Lady fashion show for the students in grades 1-5. They even did a cheer for ISTEP at the end: “2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar. We’ll pass ISTEP, stand up and holler!” Rachel Crabb shared, “We had lots of fun! And the kids remembered what each lady wanted.”

ROW 1, from left: Penelope Prewrite (Mrs. Kim Conklin, 4th grade); Cherry Check it Over (Mrs. Jennifer Perry, 3rd grade)
ROW 2, from left: Prudence Prompt (Mrs. Marcia Hodges, 4th grade); Talulah Title (Mrs. Stephanie Johnson, 3rd grade); Laverne Length (Mrs. Sarah Burnett, 5th grade student teacher); Prunella Purple Words (Mrs. Rachel Crabb, 5th grade); Edith Ending (Miss Janet Fendley, 5th grade)

Rosa Parks-Edison Elementary School

The teachers at Rosa Parks-Edison Elementary were so inspired by the ISTEP TEST LADIES idea that they did an ISTEP fashion show. (The article from their school and district website is included below.) On Friday, February 25th, third, fourth, and fifth graders at RPE were treated to an ISTEP fashion show as part of their annual ISTEP assembly.

Pictured from Rosa Parks-Edison Elementary: Melissa Pawley (as Prudence Prompt), Jessica Witt (as Penelope Prewrite), Jeanne Naue (as Tallulah Title), Sheri Cochran (as Laverne Length), Jill Voris (as Prunella Purple Words), Kristin Gaither (as Edith Ending), and Jackee Bell (as Cherry Check-it-Over).

SENSE Charter School

The Test Ladies visited SENSE Charter School during the weeks leading up to ISTEP to help students prepare for the writing portion of the test. During ISTEP week, the Test Ladies served breakfast to all students taking ISTEP. Fourth grade students drew pictures of what they thought the Test Ladies looked like before they were able to meet them.

South View Elementary School

Check out the Test Lady™ Sisters that graced the stage at South View Elementary (Muncie, IN)! Using the Test Lady Script, each “‘sister” was introduced to the students and paraded around during an assembly held the week before the ISTEP writing prompt. This is a great message to give the kids right before testing. If teachers were willing to do this, shouldn’t the kids do their best on the test? The kids loved it. Love it!

Yorktown Middle School

Inspired after the fall Retreat Test Lady skit, Suzy Fox (Yorktown Middle School, Yorktown, IN) went back to her middle school wondering if it would work for her students. Her principal gave her the go-ahead to provide a pre-test convocation for the students. At the school’s next staff meeting, Suzy asked for volunteers, and immediately, seven teachers volunteered. Suzy’s team of teachers became the “ISTEP convo committee.”

They decided to go a little beyond the Test Lady skit and include a math portion. A couple of their sixth grade math teachers created a “math race” where the kids had to find the mean, median, mode, and range based on numbers found in famous songs (think 867-5309). So the convo consisted of a math portion, Test Lady skit, one of the 8th graders singing Katy Perry’s song “Firework,” and THEN, they solicited donations from area businesses and gave away nearly $2000 in prizes!!! FABULOUS!!

In the picture, Trea is standing in front of Suzy’s ISTEP goals bulletin board. The school’s motto this year was to “Go for Growth.” She had her students write out their goals and she hung them in the hallway to hold them accountable. What great ideas to inspire! Thanks for sharing, Suzy!

The week prior to ISTEP they had dress-up days just like for homecoming week. Students from each grade level were given prizes daily if they dressed up. They had T-shirts made (designed by the art teacher) with a “Go for Growth” logo on it to give to every student in the building. Kids who dressed up each day had their names put in a drawing for an XBOX 360, and the first period class who had the most students wear their ISTEP T-shirts the day of the convo, had their names put in a drawing for a Concannon’s breakfast. They had almost 100% participation that day–amazing!!

The convocation turned out to be much more than expected. According to Suzy, “It truly was one of the best days of my teaching career; it brought our whole school together in a way that I have never seen before. The kids loved it, the teachers loved it, and it really changed the climate of our school in preparation for testing. The students were really pumped up, and I’m hoping that is reflected in their test scores.”

Suzy also shared about the ISTEP Lady contest they held where students submitted pictures (this was a HUGE hit with our students) of what they thought the ISTEP Lady looked like. The picture shows the winning student who received movie money and a Hershey bar for his entry: Mildred, complete with a caption that read, “Mildred says study like a champion today.”

Liberty Elementary School

Principal Kathy Sourbeer shared a great picture from their pre-ISTEP Pep Rally at Liberty Elementary School (Liberty, IN). She said the Test Ladies showed up and really rocked the house! Students commented afterwards that they will easily recall each Test Lady’s memorable costume and how it corresponds with a key aspect they should include within their own writing. Way to go Liberty Elementary!

Adams Central Elementary

Mandi Herring, Literacy Coach at Adams Central Elementary (Monroe, IN), appeared as 2013 ISTEP Queen to equip students with how to “rule” ISTEP. With a little help from other “contestants” for queen, Mandi presented a PPT presentation (PDF version) full of good reminders for the test. At the end of the kick-off, students were all crowned (with Burger King crowns) and ready to “rule” the state test.

Clear Fork Elementary

The Test Lady Sisters visited Clear Fork Elementary School (Beckley, WV) the week of their state-wide Online Writing Assessment. Pictured (from left to right) are Peg PencilNeck, Prudence Prompt, Penelope Pre-Writing, Harriet Hook, Laverne Length, Prunella PurpleWords, Edith Ending, and Cheery Check-it-Over. Each character walked the runway while a description of her favorite aspects of writing were recited. The intermediate students enjoyed this fun, high-energy assembly.

Hagerstown Elementary School

Some very daring Hagerstown Elementary fourth and fifth grade teachers utilized the Test Lady Sisters script (originally written by Kristina Smekens and performed by her staff during the 2010 Literacy Retreat) and added two additional “sisters” for their own presentation. The Hagerstown students enjoyed a visit from the Test Lady Sisters who offered some test-taking advice.

Article originally posted March 29, 2011 and updated in March 2019.

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