Student Testing Preparation and Easing Anxiety
Spring is right around the corner; bringing us showers, flowers and state testing. Whether your student is attending a traditional brick-and-mortar campus, an independent study program such as an IEM school, or a hybrid program, the prospect of testing often brings with it feelings of anxiety. Nervousness can be a result of uncertain content, unknown test format, or an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people. We are excited to share with you a few things to help with student testing preparation and ease testing fears so your student can #choosetoexcel.
General Tips for Student Testing Preparation
Thanks to our very own IEM parents for sharing these strategies that have worked for their students.
- Have a positive attitude! A parent’s attitude influences a child’s perspective. Be mindful to use positive words when talking to your child about testing. It really makes a big difference in how they feel.
- Make a plan for studying. Cramming never works and only increases anxiety levels. Prepare a study plan several weeks or months before testing to review concepts. For state testing, good tools include supplemental standards-based workbooks or online programs such as i-Ready instructional lessons, which are provided at no charge to our IEM students.
- Make use of Practice and Training tests for state testing. These will help your student prepare for the content but also most importantly it will help them navigate the testing platform and computer-based tools successfully. They can be found here. Simply click on “Sign In” to enter as a guest user.
- Practice typing. Typing is a required part of computer-based testing such as the CAASPP. There are a multitude of FREE online typing programs for students of all ages including TypingClub and Typing.com.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before testing days. Early to bed when early to rise because tired brains are foggy brains! A student’s ability to focus on testing days is affected by fatigue.
- Have a relaxed morning on testing days. Hop out of bed with plenty of time to have a great breakfast and arrive on time. Study time is over, but a quick review of some key concepts is a great way to get the brain powered up. Remind your student to do his or her best.
- Prepare your students for some challenges that they may experience while testing. Sitting quietly for long periods of time, having to read long passages, answer open-ended questions, using a computer to complete testing, having to type, and using embedded computer-based tools can be challenging for many students. Encourage your child to give even the toughest questions their best guess if they do not know the answer.
- Strategies students can use with specific types of testing questions. Check out this great article on strategies for specific types of testing questions: Types of Test Questions from GreatSchools.org.
Student Testing Preparation Tools Specifically for CAASPP
The CDE has Practice and Training Tests specifically designed to help students prepare for the CAASPP tests and reassure students who are nervous about upcoming tests by:
- providing sample grade level content questions and testing items; and
- allowing students to test drive some of the computer-based tools that can be used in answering content questions and testing items.
Grade level content questions and testing items
The Practice Tests cover grade level content students could encounter during CAASPP. Language Arts and Math and are grade specific. Parents who would like to see how well their student performed can do so by accessing scoring guides, keeping in mind that tests must be scored prior to submitting them.
Some computer-based tools you will find in the Practice Tests include highlighters, marking for review, rulers, drag and drop, drawing figures, using the erase feature, and many more. Parents should assist their child in learning how to use these tools. It is vital that students are accustomed to using the tools prior to testing since proctors are not allowed to help students use the available tools.
We hope that these student testing preparation tips and resources will be useful to you and your student for the annual CAASPP tests this spring and ease some potential test-anxiety. When it comes to testing, a prepared student is a student who will #choosetoexcel!
The Assessment Department