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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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Acei conference march 18 21 2009 l.jpg
ACEI Conference: March 18-21, 2009

Presentation by: Karen Sovesky

Test anxiety l.jpg

* 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


• Not having enough

information that makes

one feel helpless

Test Anxiety

Types of test anxiety l.jpg


Students preconceived idea of the test


Anxiety experienced during the test

Types of Test Anxiety

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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.

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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.”

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Possible Causes of Anxiety

Family Issues

* Divorce

* Illness of a family


* Financial difficulties

* Abusive Relationship

* Poor physical living environment

* Death of family member

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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

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Physical Issues

* Lack of sleep

* Eating improperly

* Physical ailments

• Headaches

• Stomachaches

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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

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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

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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


Explanation l.jpg

* Thalamus Route

• Prepares us for danger immediately

• Could mean the difference between life

and death

* Cortex

• Adjusts the information to make sense of any


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Central Nucleus of the Amygdala

* Triggers physical aspects of anxiety

• Physiological responses

Faster heart rate

Faster breathing

Dilated pupils

Release of adrenaline

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Mindset for Success

This is the positive perception the student may hold as he enters the test situation.

* Practice a positive attitude toward the


* Do not verbalize or internalize

negative self-statements

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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

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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

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Classroom Environment Checked by Teacher

* Check:

• Room temperature

• Lighting

• Distractions

• Pencils

• Any questions from


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Getting into the “Testing Zone”

* Relaxation Exercises

* Aromatherapy

* Listen to music

* Sit in a calming area

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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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