Thousands of students across North Carolina have begun taking standardized end-of-year exams. Those kids who finish early are used to taking a nap or staring blankly into space. But there’s actually another option. They can pick up a book.
If you’re a kid and you take tests fast, you know the drill. Stay seated quietly at your desk and wait till everyone else finishes.
"The students, I think, were just bored and were having to sit there in some situations with nothing to do," says Tammy Howard who oversees testing for the NC Department of Public Instruction.
Howard says that was standard protocol. Last year, she started hearing from parents who wanted their kids to do something more productive during that time.
"It just seemed reasonable to give those students the ability to read a book, so that they wouldn’t just be sitting there passing the time," says Howard.
The department notified districts they must let students read if they finish early. They can read a novel or a magazine, but not a textbook. Some schools may choose to provide reading material, others may allow students to bring their own.