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Testing Anxiety-Why are elementary students experiencing this?

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Growing up as a homeschooled student all the way through high school, I never had to worry about big important tests. The tests I took were low stress, at my kitchen table, with my Mom right there for support. It wasn't until I had to take the ACT that my testing anxiety appeared. I wouldn't be able to eat the day before. I would feel nauseous the entire time, and I wouldn't be able to think of anything else until the scores were available.

I think part of the reason I felt like this was because the proctors/test administrators made it seem like this test would basically make or break you. It was so strict, so "by the book' that I felt like I would be kicked out for breathing loudly or taking my eyes off the test for a few seconds.

I understand that state tests are there for a reason, but at the end of the day, it's all about data data data. Those tests don't help prepare you for the real world or show you true academic ability. I made A's and B's in high school but barely passed the math portion on the ACT. I got A's on all of my college papers and projects, but B's and C's on my tests. I knew the material, but for some reason, tests made me lose my mind.

Children, especially at the elementary age, should not be expected to sit in a room for multiple hours at a time and not be able to move or let out a sound for a test that is only for the state or district's "data".

I have seen 8 year olds be so nervous before a test, that they won't want to eat the week before, or play, because they are so worried that if they don't do well, that they will be retained or whatever else the parents, teachers, or administration have put into their minds.

I think the best thing that we can do to help this, because there really is no getting around it if your kids are in public school, is to not make it such a huge deal. My Dad used to always tell me that if I gave it my best, that's all he could ask for and he would be proud no matter what. Teach your students and children how to work hard and do their best, but don't make a test created by people who are not even in the classroom, seem like the be all end all. That's my two cents on the topic at least. Take it or leave it. ;)

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