Writing for EdSurge, a fifth-grade teacher Annie Preziosi shares her concerns that standardized testing does not always reveal the truth about student progress.
Preziosi writes that negative attitudes toward testing can not only affect student performance on tests, but can also discourage students from pursuing career options that require testing.
Such testing anxiety may be relieved if teachers employ personalized learning techniques such as conferencing with students on a regular basis to help them set personal goals and elicit buy-in from the student concerning the importance of the testing process.
Some students are natural test-takers who relish the challenge of standardized tests and consider them a game. However, others seem to freeze up under the pressure of testing and fail to live up to the promise of what they seem to have learned during the the academic year.
Testing anxiety is not only frustrating to teachers, whose performance is often judged by these tests, but also creates a psychological barrier for students who begin to see higher education or lucrative careers that require testing for certification as goals beyond their reach. Teachers can help reduce testing anxiety through several strategies, such as creating a positive attitude toward testing and offering incentives to make testing days more fun, such as special pencils or stickers
Another way to reduce the stress of testing is to incorporate components of testing throughout the year. For instance, offering regular timed tests and assignments – such as math drills or writing assignments — as a regular classroom feature, may reduce the stress of timed standardized tests. Teachers can also include fun reviews of materials likely to be tested or enlist the help of parents to help prepare students for testing through the use of games at home. Of course, one of the best options states and school districts can employ is reducing standardized testing altogether so that more time can be spent on classroom instruction.