Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Spring AND Testing Season

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Hooray for Spring, but with that comes a whole lot of yuck, Allergies, Daylight Savings and the dreaded end of the year testing. Whether you are participating or opting out,  assessment season is here.

Why Assessments Cause Stress?

Due to the high stakes standardized testing, there are plenty of reasons why testing causes stress. Our American culture is very competitive and strives to be the best. It’s essentially linked to the American’ dream, the dream to become successful, means that you have to beat out others to achieve that success, or so it’s been instilled in us. The buildup of testing season is a great deal as well. Pressure is started at the top with districts and administrators hoping that their teachers and classes receive high scores, bettering their chances of  outscoring others with a high API score. This trickles all the way doen from the offices in education, to the classrooms in our schools, to the homes were we dwell. This season can be brutal. Students feel this stress as well, knowing that although there is no “grade” that goes with this test..there is bound to be disappointment.

What can We Do to Lighten the Load?

Too bad there isn’t a one click fix for  test anxiety. I’m no expert, but I must say that the fact that I look forward to taking tests (even though I don’t do particularly well), must give me some presidence on this situation. Why hasn't the test anxiety affected me?

It's all perspective. Tests weren't always a challenge I strives for, they were filled with fear, as I knew my low scores would result in parental disappointment (to me, the worst kind_.

Here are some sure fire ways to make a test day, a walk in the park

1. Change the Perspective. If we as test-takers or parents/guardians of students taking tests, we have to look at is a a small piece of work. Focus on the things your child come home eager to share. This will continue to develop confidence i your child so that you can help them relieve some of the stress.

2. Make it a special day. Befoer taking my tests to become a teacher (yep there was a total of 5, not including assessments needed for employment) I would wake up early, after a good night's rest, and treat myself to something special. Usually an iced whole milk chai tea latte. I arrived early to the testing location, to ensure that running late, wouldn't add additional stress. Setting the tone for the day is important, another part of developing confidence.  Doesn't your child have a favrorite treat? A favorite Song? Would they enjoy taking a different way to school? Is there a hobby taht they enjoy that could be included in the morning (reading, shooting hoops,etc)? Finding ways to set up the day is very important (This doesn't mean that your child should rule the day and eat loads of candy. You are still the parent and setting boundaries important ).

3. Be Detectives. It may just be my quirky self that enjoys searching and finding things, but this is a powerful tool for test0taking. Help your child look at tests as they are the expert and know the answers. Some problems have easier clues and some won't be able to be solved today. Whe you take the helping your child understand that the test is not trying to trick them (although some questions may), but is a large mystery with cludes taht need to be solved, it may help take the pressure off and allow the student to have condindence through this rolepalying.

Hopefully these help aliveate some of the stress and pressure that comes with test-taking.

Comment below on any other ideas of tips you have for conquering tests!


Little Mrs Hurley

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