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Test Anxiety In Elementary Students Causes And Solutions ACEI Conference: March 18-21, 2009 Presentation by: Karen Sovesky * What is it? Unpleasant emotion that reflects distress or apprehension of some type * Can be caused by: • Having too much
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Test Anxiety In Elementary Students Causes And Solutions
ACEI Conference: March 18-21, 2009 Presentation by: Karen Sovesky
* What is it? Unpleasant emotion that reflects distress or apprehension of some type * Can be caused by: • Having too much information that one cannot process fully • Not having enough information that makes one feel helpless Test Anxiety
Trait Students preconceived idea of the test State Anxiety experienced during the test Types of Test Anxiety
Trait Test Anxiety * The student that enters the test situation with trait anxiety may have the greatest fear of the test before they take it. * These students feel threatened by the test even before they begin to experience it.
State Test Anxiety * The student that exhibits the state test anxiety usually just experiences this degree of anxiety during the assessment period itself. * It has been suggested that this type of anxiety may be a case of “stage fright.”
Possible Causes of Anxiety Family Issues * Divorce * Illness of a family member * Financial difficulties * Abusive Relationship * Poor physical living environment * Death of family member
Other Stressors School Environment * Poor relationship with the teacher * Lack of a support group of friends * Embarrassed about the clothing they wear * Poor study habits * Lack of coping strategies
Physical Issues * Lack of sleep * Eating improperly * Physical ailments • Headaches • Stomachaches
Testing Environment * Too hot or cold in the testing environment * Distractions •Too noisy •Weather conditions * Lunchtime is approaching * Time factor * Lack of proper writing implements
Where Does Fear Resonate in the Body? In the AMYGDALA
Amygdala Bypass System * Sensory data fed to thalamus * Data sent to amygdala * Data also sent to cortex * Amygdala does quick threat assessment * Amygdala blocks ‘slow thinking’ * Unthinking response
Two Pathways of Fear * External stimulus reaches the amygdala in two different ways. • By a short, fast, imprecise route from the thalamus • By a long, slow, precise route from the cortex
Explanation * Thalamus Route • Prepares us for danger immediately • Could mean the difference between life and death * Cortex • Adjusts the information to make sense of any reactions
Central Nucleus of the Amygdala * Triggers physical aspects of anxiety • Physiological responses Faster heart rate Faster breathing Dilated pupils Release of adrenaline
Mindset for Success This is the positive perception the student may hold as he enters the test situation. * Practice a positive attitude toward the test * Do not verbalize or internalize negative self-statements
Teacher Assistance * Discover the qualities that makes the student unique * Study the student’s stress triggers and try to help him adjust to the stressors
Alter Assessment Procedure * Incorporate a variety of assessment methods (Group Projects) * Enable the students to write a “cheat sheet’ for the test to help organize their thoughts
Classroom Environment Checked by Teacher * Check: • Room temperature • Lighting • Distractions • Pencils • Any questions from students
Getting into the “Testing Zone” * Relaxation Exercises * Aromatherapy * Listen to music * Sit in a calming area
Quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is FEAR itself.
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