A classroom teacher’s guide to reducing test anxiety (and testing!)

As educators, sometimes it seems like all we ever do is jump from preparing our students for one assessment to another. Reams have been written about the corrosive influence of pervasive testing in education, but is there anything we can do as classroom teachers to avoid over-testing our students?

It turns out there is! We may not be able to avoid district- and state-mandated assessments, and other tests do have their place—testing is, after all, a useful way to measure some kinds of student progress—but there are a few things we can do to minimize testing and reduce the anxiety and other negative consequences of testing.

Our district and state assessments are a great measure of students’ growth, but they are only one measure. I rely greatly on observation and students’ daily work. I have often had students come to school after a rough morning at home or when they’re ill, and the results of their tests under such circumstances don’t match with what I’ve seen in class. We don’t have cookie-cutter kids, and I most definitely don’t expect cookie-cutter results.…Read More