Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So Far I'm Fighting Test Anxiety

We worry about our students feeling state test anxiety as they prepare for and as they take the test. But we teachers sometimes succumb to teacher test anxiety.

I felt it most in my first year in a general ed classroom. It also was the first year of our close-the-achievement gap, model school year. We were all quite nervous. It truly was high stakes. We practiced, taught strategies to read and respond, went over practice tests and retaught how to do better. It was exhausting. Not to mention the hoopla with an assembly, well wishes cards from younger grades, warnings to get a good night's sleep. Those activities probably did have a good effect. I'd like to think they were not in vain (in ignorance, maybe).

This year from the superintendent, through our school administrators, to my grade level teacher there is a feeling of "We have taught the best we can, now let them show what they know". In my room the kids and I jokingly refer to it as the Mmmm test as we can't bring ourselves to say MAP test, for fear we will start to become anxious.

Occasionally, I get a twinge that I should pull out material from years past. Or I worry I didn't cover everything on the state standards (well, we will have over 2 months of school left after the test). I start to ponder the 7 or so students that left my room this year and the 7 or so that transferred in. Did I loose the high scorers, or the low ones? Then I catch myself from such foolish thoughts, look around the room at these great learners, and get to work focusing on this day and this day only.

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