Students throughout the Sacramento region are sleeping longer, eating better and taking part in fun activities -- all to help them to do well on state tests.
The students and their counterparts throughout California are in the midst of the state's Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, exams. The tests show how well students meet state standards and measure achievement gaps among ethnic groups.
The tests have high stakes for schools: Multiple years of low scores could mean sanctions or even a state takeover. The state scores schools between 200 and 1,000, and it has set 800 as the target schools should achieve.
The pressure for schools to improve their overall scores has administrators sending home fliers and making automated phone calls to parents, reminding them to make sure their kids take the test seriously, get plenty of sleep and eat a good breakfast before the exam.