It is almost that time of year again: Time for end of the year testing. Teachers are trying to get through everything in the curriculum, and cover material they anticipate being on these assessments, while also trying to keep students from burning out.
Along with reviewing curriculum and digging into new content, students are also learning test-taking strategies. This means students are being bombarded with information, which when you add standardized testing to the mix, can be a very stressful time for students. During this time of the year, teachers can let students know they are more than simply a test score. Here are a number of ways to support students through this intense time.
One of the most important things that we can do for our students is to help them to believe in their ability to succeed in achieving their goals. Student efficacy can be built by giving students opportunities to be successful, allowing them to see their peers succeed and by providing them with positive feedback. When students believe in themselves, they are motivated to try hard.
Another strategy, which is closely related to student efficacy, is instilling a growth mindset. Students with a growth mindset know that their abilities can be developed through hard work and perseverance. We have to help students change their perspective. Instead of saying this test is hard, try challenges help me grow.
Providing daily motivation is another simple way to support students during testing. You can write some encouraging words on post its and leave them on your students desks. You could also write a message on the board. Just imagine the feeling your students will get when they walk into the room and see a message saying how much you believe in them.
Another way to support our students is by creating brain breaks. These can be done during test prep and during the test. Before you move on to the next section of the test, give your students the opportunity to stand up and stretch. Try doing yoga. Allow them to talk to each other. Consider adding game-based learning, such as Read to Lead. This will relieve some of the stress that many students will undoubtedly feel.
Students are under enormous pressure to perform well on end of year testing. Educators can help relieve some of the pressure on our students by reminding them that even though the test is important, it does not define who they are. Most importantly, we must help them to believe in themselves and let them know that we believe in them as well.