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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Testing anxiety



State testing is coming up soon.

While I have very mixed feelings about the tests, I know that a ten year old should not be loosing sleep over these tests. Prior to a district assessment earlier this year, I noticed that the students were acting a bit off. I had them sit down and asked them to share some of the thoughts that were going through their minds.

  • "My parents will get mad at me if I don't do well."
  • "I won't pass the grade."
  • "I'll be moved into a different reading class."
  • "I'm no good at reading."
  • "I'm going to get a bad score."
I was actually surprised at how anxious it turned out all of my students were. I quickly changed the lesson we were working on, and took some time to talk about testing thoughts.

We looked at each thought they were having, and then came up with a new helpful thought. For example, instead of saying "My parents will get mad at me if I don't do well," they could label that thought as emotional reasoning and say in their heads, "My parents love me no matter what."

I didn't think too much of the exercise until I saw the test results. Amazingly, the students did much better than their previous reading exam. Of course this wasn't any scientific study, but it is worth a try and made for a much calmer classroom!

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