Tis the Time for Testing  

April 19, 2018

It’s that time of year again…testing season!   During the month of April, many schools will participate in standardized testing to measure what their students have learned this year. These tests require students to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time while pushing their brains to the max. There are some students that are natural test takers, who welcome the challenge of tests and consider these tests to be more of a game. However, there are those students who “freeze up” under the pressure of testing and fail to live up to the promise of what they seem to have learned. Often the results of a test do not give a clear picture of the student’s knowledge because of test anxiety.

There are a number of ways that parents can help support their child’s learning habits on a daily basis that will help them be more prepared when it’s time to be tested and hopefully relieve some of the test anxiety.
   • Make sure that your child gets a good night’s sleep. Children who are tired will have difficulty focusing on their work.
   • Make sure that your child has good attendance at school.
   • Make sure that your child eats a nutritious breakfast with representatives of the lean protein, whole grain, fruit, and low fat dairy food groups on test days. Studies suggest that good nutrition helps children concentrate and perform better in class.
   • Make the morning of test days pleasant. Stress will impair your child’s ability to perform their best.
   • Make sure that your child makes it to school on time so they do not miss any instructions and are allowed ample time to settle and relax before the test begins.
   • Taking interest in what your child is doing at school and helping them prepare for tests will have a positive impact on them. 
   • Ways teachers can help students prepare mentally and academically for testing:
   • Talk about the purpose of the testing
   • Teach test-taking strategies (e.g., encourage students to read each question carefully, read all possible answer choices before    choosing their final answer, eliminate any answers that they know are wrong, etc.) 
   • Have students set goals. Keep goals small, realistic, and achievable. Helping students set personal goals can improve their          attitude toward testing.
   • Create a positive attitude toward testing by offering incentives to make testing days more fun (e.g., stickers, snacks, pencils, etc.)
   • Have students do some relaxation techniques prior to testing to help get rid of some of the test anxiety (e.g.,deep breathing,    Yoga poses, have students close their eyes and visualize themselves relaxing in a quiet place where they love to go, etc.)
   • When proctoring the test, make your presence known by walking around the room, monitoring, to make sure students are            engaged in the testing.
   • Stay calm and model a positive attitude towards testing. If the teacher is not stressed out over testing then students will be less    likely to stress out.
   • Look at data from previous years to look for patterns of areas where students did well and areas that did not go so well. Look for ways to improve instruction in those areas so that students are better prepared.
   • Provide test preparation activities incorporated into the regular, ongoing instructional activities whenever possible throughout the  school year.
These are just a few ways that teachers and parents can help students get through this stressful part of the school year.  Standardized testing can be a positive experience.  If students are prepared, and parents and teachers are positive about the experience, students can succeed on these tests and walk away feeling confident. 

References
Parent Tips: How to Help Your Child Prepare for Standardized Tests.  Retrieved from http://www.colorincolorado.org  [Accessed: 23 March 2018]
Benefits of Eating Breakfast for students. Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com [Accessed: 23 March 2018]

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