Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I can remember being in Mrs. DeMarco's sixth grade history class getting ready to take a unit test on the content we just finished. How bad is it that I just remember it was a history test and not what was on it! I started feeling sick to my stomach and nervous about the questions. Mrs. DeMarco was reading through the directions, passed out the test and I read the first question. I remember drawing a blank as I did not know the answer. So I went to the second, then the third and still nothing. Short of getting out of my chair screaming I closed my eyes, took a deep breathe, and began the test all over again. I made it through the test, and could not tell you my grade on it (I don't even remember the content) My memory never forgets this test scenario every time I took a test after that day. Even now I get worked up about completing a task that may be evaluated or judged by my supervisors. The reason I made it through this test and knew to regroup my thoughts was because of something my mom said to me that morning. She told me to take my time, check the answers, and if I did not know the answers skip the question and move to the next one. She said, "Kath, have confidence that you will do fine!" Because of her encouragement on the day of the test, it helped me through. However I also knew about the test, what kind of questions on the test, and how much time I had to complete it. The same goes for the PSSA for our students! To prepare the students, let them know about the place they will be taking the test. The time they will be leaving, coming home, signing in, and what they will do at the testing sites. The more information students and parents have about testing will ease minds of all. During the next few weeks you will receive information for testing, what to bring, the time frame of the assessment, and some policies for testing. Continue to work through your curriculum, complete the test taking strategies, and continue to build your student's confidence in answering questions on their own. The more they feel confident, the better they will be able to complete the test. Finally, as a parent you may be feeling some anxiety for your student. That happens and very natural to want to help our students gain success. Make sure that your student does not feel, see, or sense your fear for this assessment. Just like any of content topic you may dislike, a student will take on those same fears if they know you have them. This can be a challenging time, but preparation for all avenues of testing will be helpful for students and parents! What are your thoughts of assessments and how to you ease the sense of anxiety?