"If you are hungry for knowledge;
indulge in some Educational Soup."
December is the month for many that is filled with happiness, scents of pumpkin spice, rosemary, thyme, pure spiritual rejuvenation and much needed time to unwind. During this jolly season, the only one stressed is usually the individual hosting the festive occasion filled with savory flavors, music, laughter, and champagne. Unfortunately, after the festivities are over, the leftovers are gone, treadmills and ellipticals are on, and for parents of school aged children, the dreaded cramming and crunch time chatter of state-wide testing has erased the calm. Whether we agree or disagree on whether high stakes testing should take place, the fact remains, our children are still required to take the test. Whether we agree or disagree on the grade level and age a child should be tested, again, the fact remains, our children are still required to take the test. The name of the test may be different, but how society and post-secondary educational institutions utilize and analyze the information to defer a conclusion regarding our children’s academic success or academic future remains the same.
Taking state-wide tests seriously and performing well on these tests are important for several reasons. Post-secondary institutions utilize test results to determine if a student will be accepted into their institution. Secondary schools utilize test scores to determine whether a student will be allowed to register in an advanced course or receive college credits while in high school. In some instances, these scores are utilized to determine whether our children are retained in a grade level or graduate from high school. Implications such as these are more likely than not to cause students to feel anxiety regarding taking a test that will determine the complexity of their entire future. The problem with this is, if a child begins to feel test anxiety, the child may have known the content of the test the night before the test, but because of the anxiety the child may feel, a child may forget the content on the day of the test. For example, a child may know how to solve the simplest of algebraic equations, but while taking the test, that same problem may seem unsolvable.
Test anxiety stems from the pressure that comes with knowing how important taking a certain test is, and the consequences that may be faced if he or she does not perform well on the test. Now is the time where parents or guardians should watch for signs of anxiety and distress in their children and take precautionary measures to be sure anxiety does not build up. Therefore, it is important to know the signs of test anxiety.
Some of these signs include, but are not limited to:
The first step to insuring your child can combat test anxiety is to first identify that your child has test anxiety. The second step to supporting your child if he or she has test anxiety, is to equip him or her with the skills and strategies necessary to combat test anxiety.
One very important strategy includes making sure your child knows the avenues he or she can take to ask for assistance. For example, I have a fourteen-year-old daughter. She knows that if she needs assistance with any of her classes, she can first ask the teacher. If she still feels as if she is not receiving the support she needs, she should immediately communicate this to me. Under no circumstances should she wait to communicate this to me when the time nears for teachers to submit their grades for report cards. If she waits to communicate the issue to me when grades are about to be submitted, it will be difficult to get the assistance needed in time to improve her grade and get the support needed to be successful on the test. Making her responsible for her grades not only builds independence, but builds the confidence to communicate her needs in a timely manner.
Schools usually administer pre-tests, mid-year assessments, and interim assessments. Many children feel as if it is not important to do their very best on these tests because they feel as if they are not the “real test”. The truth of the matter is, these tests are very important. These tests allow teachers to gauge where a child is academically and what areas the child needs assistance on to be successful on the test. If the child does not try on the test, this leaves the teacher with false results, and the teacher will be unable to prepare the child properly. To insure this does not happen, the parent or guardian should obtain a schedule of when these tests will take place, and make sure to stress the importance of these tests.
Good Night Sleep
Make sure your child receives a good night sleep the night before the test. This means that getting in the routine of going to bed at a certain time is paramount. You cannot expect your child to go to bed at 9:30 PM the night before the test if he or she has been going to sleep at 11:30 PM or after midnight since the beginning of the school year. Setting this routine is not only good for performing well on tests, but performing well throughout the school year. Remember, it is difficult to learn in school if he or she is falling asleep in class daily. If a child is falling asleep in class, valuable information that could assist with performing successfully on the test could be missed.
A hot breakfast insures that your child has the nutrients he or she needs to allow the brain to function properly. The nutrients taken in by the body will give your child enough energy and stamina to successfully think through those tough to solve problems and complex reading passages.
Once in the testing site, there is usually a period where the teacher begins to prepare the room for testing. After all necessary business has been conducted (taking attendance, completing the seating chart, etc.), the teacher begins to read a testing script that gives the children all the do’s and don’ts regarding the test. The amount of time given to the children to take the test is given as well (unless your child has an exceptionality that lends to extended time). After the script is read, the timer begins and the children are now in test mode. While the teacher is preparing the room to begin testing and before the script is read, your child can take this moment to close his or her eyes and focus on the task at hand. Clearing the mind before any difficult task has its benefits. Anything that is on your mind not associated with the task at hand can be wiped away.
If you have experienced any of the above with your child and want to share your experience and ways you dealt with the situation, please comment below. If you have any questions regarding the topic, you can write those in the comments as well. If you enjoyed this segment of Educational Soup and found it beneficial, please don’t forget to thumb it up and don’t forget to subscribe.
Don’t be scared, it’s just educational soup!