Test Anxiety


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Test Anxiety

  1. 1. High Stakes, High Anxiety: Stakes Testing and Student Stress Jay Parkes, Ph.D. Educational Psychology Program www.unm.edu/~parkes
  2. 2. My main resource Cizek, G. J. & Burg, S. S. (2006). Addressing test anxiety in a high- stakes environment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin P C i Press.
  3. 3. Are students stressed by testing? Between 25% and 30% of American students suffer effects of debilitating stress i evaluative situations ff t f d bilit ti t in l ti it ti (Hill, 1984). Between 34% and 41% of third-through-sixth-grade children are affected by test anxiety (Turner, Beidel, hild ff t d b t t i t (T B id l Hughes, & Turner, 1993). Test anxiety . . . is a common, treatable condition that may lower student performance in up to 10% of the school-aged population (Erford & Moore-Thomas, 2004). Approximately 20% of students in upper elementary school are hindered in demonstrating their ability because of test anxiety (Goonan, 2004). These bullets are from Cizek & Burg (2006) p. 28
  4. 4. Are students stressed by testing? “Current estimates of the percentage of Current students in a classroom affected by test anxiety range from a low of about 1% to a high of over 40%. (Cizek & Burg, 2006, p.29).” Most studies are prior to NCLB. Many studies don’t differentiate large-scale testing f i from classroom assessment. l
  5. 5. What is Test Anxiety? “. . . the set of phenomenological, . physiological, and behavioral responses that accompany concern about possible negative consequences or failure on an exam or similar evaluative situation (p. 27)” (Zeidner, 1998)
  6. 6. Mild Effects of Test Anxiety Physiological y g Rapid breathing Sweating Rapid heart rate Behavioral Fidgeting, squirming Pencil-tapping Emotional & Psychological Verbal expression of concern Resistance to attending school
  7. 7. Moderate Effects of Test Anxiety Crying Illness Toileting accidents High Blood Pressure Eating disturbance Acting Out Sleep disturbance Cheating Poorer test Negative attitudes towards performance self, school, self school subjects
  8. 8. Extreme Effects of Test Anxiety Can be comorbid with Overanxious Disorder and/or Social Phobia. Suicide
  9. 9. “We live in a test-conscious, test-giving We test conscious, test giving culture in which the lives of people are in part determined by their test performance.” Quote f Q t from 1959
  10. 10. “One of the suicides was definitely due to One worry over an approaching examination and the other presumably was. These incidents show that students are taking their examination more and more seriously, and that th th t the emotional reactions b f ti l ti before examinations is an important problem.” Quote from 1938
  11. 11. Who is test anxious? Females > Males African-American > White (difference disappears by high school) pp y g ) Hispanics > Whites Low Ability > Moderate Ability > High Ability At Risk > Not at Risk No data on ELL’s ELL s Summarized from Cizek & Burg (2006), Ch. 4
  12. 12. Not all stress is bad stress 67% of students who failed the MCAS the first time said that, as a result, they are working harder in school. 65% say they pay more attention in class since failing the MCAS. These bullets are adapted from from Cizek & Burg (2006) p. 30, citing Mass Insight Education, 2002.
  13. 13. The Yerkes Dodson Law 1908 Yerkes-Dodson
  14. 14. Student Tips for Dealing with Test Anxiety Before the test Learn positive self-talk Avoid “must” self-talk (e.g. “I must do well on this test”). Study well Learn test taking techniques During the test Practice Relaxation Techniques & positive self-talk Skim the test (get the lay of the land) Answer easier questions first; skip harder questions and come back to them Pacing and Time Management Adapted from Cizek & Burg (2006)
  15. 15. Parent Tips for Dealing with Test Anxiety Parents are a key component! Think long-term – encourage healthy self- esteem, self-concept, self-worth , p, Model positive self-talk and attributions DON T DON’T act short term with tests (e.g. earlier short-term bedtime, “pep talks”, special meals). This HEIGHTENS test anxiety. Adapted from Cizek & Burg (2006)
  16. 16. Teacher Tips: Before the Test Provide basic information about evaluations. Be fair and open about testing. Discuss “worst-case” scenarios carefully worst-case carefully. Test Preparation Familiarize them with conditions and formats Test-taking Skills Test Time Management How to follow directions Adapted from Cizek & Burg (2006)
  17. 17. Teacher Tips: During the Test The Testing Environment Adequate space Well lit Well-lit Appropriate Temperature Distraction free Accommodate student needs (e.g. left- and right-handed desks) Adapted from Cizek & Burg (2006) Table 6.3
  18. 18. School Tips for Dealing with Test Anxiety De-emphasize the importance of the test results. Test anxiety was hi h i schools where: higher in h l h Teachers were urged to practice test-like activities. Teachers were reminded of the use of scores by the public. Students were encouraged to do their best via daily announcements Students were reminded of the importance of getting a good night s rest night’s rest, eating breakfast, etc breakfast etc. DO communicate that testing is important and that students should do well. DO NOT communicate the adults stress to the students adults’ students. Have counselors and teachers teach relaxation techniques Adapted from Cizek & Burg (2006)
  19. 19. School Tips for Dealing with Test Anxiety “All schools for miles and miles around Must take a special test. To see who’s learning such and such To see which school’s the best school s best. If our small school does not do well, Then it will be torn down, And you will have to go to school In dreary Flobbertown.” -- Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, and Lane Smith, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! Adapted from Cizek & Burg (2006)
  20. 20. A Need for Some Perspective “Tests don t hurt kids; people with tests hurt Tests don’t kids.” Social pressures surrounding testing are p g g more damaging than testing itself. A serious issue . . . but in its context Evaluation is part of life and we need to teach our students proactive, positive and productive ways to address it.
  21. 21. References Cizek, G. J. & Burg, S. S. (2006). Addressing test anxiety in a high-stakes environment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Hughes, B. M. (2005). Study, examinations, and stress: blood pressure assessments in college students. Educational Review, 57(1), 21 – 36. Zeidner, M (1998). T Z id M. (1998) Test anxiety: Th state of i The f the art. New York: Plenum Press.
  22. 22. Resources McDonald, A. S. (2001). The prevalence and effects of test anxiety in school children Educational Psychology 21(1) 89 children. Psychology, 21(1), 89- 101. Oehlberg, B. E. (2006). Reaching and teaching stressed and anxious learners in grades 4-8: strategies for relieving distress and t d trauma in schools and classrooms. Th i h l d l Thousand O k CA: d Oaks, CA Corwin Press. The Society for Test Anxiety Research http://www.star- society.org/ y g Ysseldyke, J., Nelson, J. R., Christenson, S., Johnson, D. R., Dennison, A., Triezenberg, H., Sharpe, M., & Hawes, M. (2004). What we know and need to know about the consequences of high stakes high-stakes testing for students with disabilities Exceptional disabilities. Children, 71(1), 75-94.