Mrs. Scott stood at the front of the classroom explaining that we would be taking a test, one that all the students in the first grade would be taking. It was very important that we take the test seriously and to not look at our neighbor’s paper. Our easy-going, reserved young teacher radiated an unusual seriousness as she held a thick stack of assessments in her arms.
Shortly after the tests were handed out, tears fell from one of my classmate’s cheeks. Then she turned to throw up on the carpet next to her desk. The room erupted in chaos, tests forgotten, and Mrs. Scott ushered us into the hallway. She knelt down to talk to the crying little girl, and word quickly spread that our classmate had been so nervous about the test that she got sick.
That was in the early 1990s, and the frequency and pressure of assessments has ratcheted up exponentially since; however, there are ways to ease test anxiety at home and in the classroom to help prepare young students for assessments. Most states start standardized testing in elementary schools as early as third grade, so preparation for students in K–2 is important.
Infographic by Skylar Mowery.
It was hard to focus after all the excitement in Mrs. Scott’s classroom that morning, so she took us on a quiet tour of the school hallways to help calm everyone down. We got to see older students’ artwork and projects displayed outside their classroom doors. This gave us something to look forward to as we advanced into our later elementary years. The next time we had testing in elementary school, we remembered how Mrs. Scott turned an alarming situation into an opportunity to dream, and everyone was a bit calmer and more prepared to take the test.
For Further Reading…
- Check out First Grade Takes a Test to see if your students might benefit from reading it.
- Read through the five strategies to prepare students for standardized testing for more ideas to help your students feel ready for test day.
- Learn more about Pathblazer® to find out how you can use technology to better prepare your elementary school students for tests, as well as future learning.