"You pray for the best and you prepare for the worst," said Susan Pate who teaches third grade at Austin Elementary.
But when it comes to the state mandated State Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test, for faculty and students, it's much more complicated than that.
"I dont know that I've ever seen more dissonance or push back about the general ideology behind standardized testing as were seeing in the state of testing right now," said Dr. Heath Burns, superintendent for the Abilene Independent School District (AISD).
Students this year in third through eighth grade came in equal or even higher than the statewide average.
That should be a good thing, except it still has school administrators worried about what it takes to get there.
"The fact that our seniors will ultimately have to pass sixteen exams before they graduate compared to other states that have to pass on average three or four i think is ridiculous," said Burns.
Or how much lower those scores are than with previous exams.
On average three out of every four Abilene students who took the exam passed their reading math and science tests.
But 75 percent isn't nearly as high as Pate remembers.
"Now you're talking about we've gone from that 92 to 95 percent to were having 18 percent not pass," she said.
also doesn't remember previous exams being so difficult.
That's at least what she understands as she reads a sample of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) which was used prior to the STAAR test.
"There's a diary and it's got a map, but again its only four questions, but this is 1995 my first year of teaching," said Pate.
Which is her biggest concern as she prepares her third graders to take the test for the very first time.Especially as she reads questions from a generic sample of a STAAR exam.
"What is the main message in the poem? You're asking an eight year old," she said.
And they'd better get used to it, because theyll be taking the exam for the next five years.