Friday, March 2, 2012

Easing Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a problem every teacher faces. Since we can't ban the test, we have to find a way to ease the stress. I love to read the book, Testing Miss Malrkey by Keven O' Malley. . Click HERE for a free copy of the book. (If you want to save a copy, you will have to register, but it is free.)  After reading the book I like to talk to the students about their testing fears. You wouldn't believe some of the misconceptions that kids have. Some think they will be retained if they don't perform well on this one test  Positive reinforcement is a better option than scare tactics  in my opinion. I created an acronym and reward system for testing week. It's called Sweet Success. We practice going through each of the steps prior to the big day. The steps are as follows:


Stay Positive- Have the students practice saying positive affirmations such as, I will pass the test. Have them visualize performing well on the test.
Work Hard- Make sure you read everything and show your work.
Examine the Questions- Questions should be read twice. Read over ALL the answer choices.
Eliminate Wrong Answers- There are usually one or two answers that can be eliminated. Teach students to cross those out. Good test takers should be able to narrow down the choices to two answers at least. 
Take All the Time Given-   Never close your test booklet. Keep working until time is called. 

Make sure you practice these steps long before test day. When test day comes I watch for students to exhibit all these behaviors and put a gumball (pom pom) on the gumball machine after every testing section. I do this all week. If students fill the gumball machine by the end of the week, they get a class reward. Click HERE or the picture for your free poster and gumball template.

Our school counselor also puts together a Test Pep Rally. During the rally students and teachers perform skits, dance, sing, and cheer. This year I ordered a cd from Test Day Jams, and we are going to dance to a medley of tunes. The most important thing you can do to relieve test anxiety is create a positive classroom environment!

Good luck as you continue to create magic in the classroom!

24 comments:

  1. Thank you for putting together this post! Great information, I know I am going to use!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! I hope your testing week is super successful!

      Selina

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  2. So cute! Great ideas for us all to take back to our classroom and use :)

    ~Stephanie

    Teaching in Room 6

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  3. Thank for a great resource! I can't wait to read the book and look at the cd. I too teach fourth grade and the pressure is incredible this year!

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    1. You are so welcome, Heidi! The testing pressure seems to get worse every year. I'm lucky to work for a district that doesn't add to that pressure.

      Selina

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  4. I've given you an award! Come on over to check it out!

    ~Ashlee

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    1. Thanks, Ashlee! I have a few things on my plate right now, but I will try to get to this soon. I'm already a follower of your blog!

      Selina

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  5. Thanks for the book link! Unfortunately 3rd graders in FL CAN be retained if they fail the reading part of the state testing :(

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    1. OMG! I know students need to be able to read before being passed on, but that is just way too much pressure for a young child! I can't imagine what kind of pressure that must put on you. I'm so sorry!

      Selina

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  6. Thank you Selina, this was so helpful!!
    Kristen

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    1. You are welcome! Thanks for commenting.

      Selina

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  7. Thanks for the great post! I am so excited to read Miss Malarkey to my students on my SMARTboard on Monday! I wish I had found you earlier. Thanks for the great post!
    Jenny

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    1. Jenny,
      Thanks for the compliment! I hope your students enjoy it.

      Selina

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  8. Selina I'm SO happy to have found your blog! I'm your newest follower! I love your sweet ideas & thanks for the free printables I can't wait to get them implemented into my classroom! We have tests in just 6 weeks so these new ideas will sure help!
    melissa @ teachingfashionista.blogspot.com

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    1. Melissa,

      I love your blog! Thanks for following me, and I'm following you, too.

      Selina

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  9. What a great idea!! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Mrs Poland
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

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    1. Thank you! I'm your newest follower. Crossing my fingers you get to 100 very soon:)

      Selina

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  10. Lovin' this idea!!!!! Thanks for sharing your great resources!

    Twins, Teaching and Tacos.

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  11. Thank you! Do you have a blog? The link to Twins, Teaching and Tacos doesn't work. If you leave me a link, I will follow your blog. Thanks for commenting!

    Selina

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  12. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! My class recently took an Interim Assessment and my students knew the information like the back of their hands, but on the Interim they only did 68% (which isn't bad, but I expected at least 80%). If you have any activities or suggestions I could use for testing STAMINA I'd greatly appreciate it! Those that didn't pass, did so because of the last story (there were 3 stories, the first one was 2 1/2 pages long, the second story was 1 3/4 pages long and the last story was the shortest at 1 1/4 page long). After examining the test, by the time they got to the last story a lot had stopped doing strategies. I made cute little notes for all of them (Using paper, I cut made pants and told them they were all "Smarty Pants" and wrote messages on the pants - You can do it, Do your strategies, etc). I give parties for those that pass, I just don't know what else to do! So any help you can provide is greatly appreciated!

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    1. You're welcome! And thanks for commenting. Stamina is such a problem. We have four days of testing and by the last day we(me and my students) are all toast. I'm afraid I'm in the same boat with you. Like you I just try to keep them pumped up about doing their best. It sounds like you are a great teacher and are doing a great job. We are suppose to be moving to computerized test next year, and I really think that might help. Best of luck to you, I know your kids will do great!

      Selina

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  13. Thank you for sharing! I am always looking for additional ideas to create a positive atmosphere during state testing time. Our school also holds a pep assembly the Friday prior to our state testing window. Our staff put on the skit Twas the Night Before Testing which encourages getting a good night's sleep, eating a good breakfast (our district's lunch program offers free breakfast to all students that week), thinking positive thoughts and test taking strategies. The students love the skit!!

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    1. I love that idea! Our school has a pep assembly, too. I'll have to remember that idea. Thanks for sharing!

      Selina

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