As educators at any level have more than likely born witness to, testing can be a source of great stress and anxiety for students. This phenomenon is understandable, as each test administered is a vital piece of a given pupils grade and performance in the class.
Of course, there are many external factors – home life, health, mental state, etc – that can influence a student’s performance regardless of how prepared they are. With that in mind, it’s imperative that teachers create both tests and testing environments with the well-being of their students in mind.
If you’re looking to hone your test administering abilities, take a look at these simple tips:
Encourage Intangible Preparation
Obviously, there’s no replacement for ensuring that your students are provided the necessary resources to succeed on their exam. This may consist of developing comprehensive study guides, creative curriculum, and holding in class review sessions.
Still, it’s important that you also stress to your students the importance of the intangible aspects of preparation. The day before an exam, be sure to remind your students that the way they prepare physically will matter as much as the manner in which they study.
For example, you should tell your pupils to make sure that they eat a good breakfast on the morning of the exam. Explain to them that preparing a few pencils or pens and checking calculator batteries, etc, will reduce their stress when they enter the room. And, as TeacherVision has noted, it can be extremely helpful to remind them to try to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before.
Create a Mentality of Success
While it may seem slightly odd, there is evidence to suggest that focusing on our moments of success can bring us heightened likelihood of achievement in other tasks. According to MiddleWeb, some teachers have experienced good results with having their students briefly write about a moment in which they experienced success.
Focusing on prior success can help students succeed in the moment
Putting a short answer question to this tune at the beginning of your exam will allow your students a low stress way to get into a mindset of excellence prior to beginning the test. As a result, self esteem can be raised and students may also experience heightened academic performance and confidence. Just make sure an extra five minutes or so are allowed for this activity.
Seek Feedback on Test Taking Practices
As is the case with most aspects of being an educator, it’s important to remember that no two students will learn in the same way. In order to account for this when it comes to test taking practices and situations, it’s vital that you seek regular feedback from your students. Ask them at least once per semester, perhaps in the form of a written survey, what they would like to see changed about test taking practices in your classroom and what’s currently working for them. Implementing some of this feedback will mean a great deal to students, and will encourage them to reach new heights of success in testing.