Wednesday, March 26, 2014

STAAR Test Anxiety in 4th & 5th

It's typical for anyone to feel a little nervous or stressed before a test.  Test anxiety can actually be a good thing in certain amounts.  Some stress motivates us and enhances our performance, otherwise we wouldn't try.  But too much stress can have a negative effect and interfere with our performance.

I think it's important to address this topic with students to normalize their feelings.  With our first round of STAAR testing next week, I decided to meet with classes to talk about how they're doing.  I first had them complete a quick 6-question questionnaire about how they feel before a test.  If they answered "yes" to two or more of the questions, it alerted them that they might have some test anxiety.  I explained the positives of having some test anxiety, called eustress.  Eustress motivates us and can help us perform better on tests.  However, if we have too much stress before a test, it's called distress.  Our body can be dramatically affected by this and it can have a detrimental affect on our test performance.

On the other side of their questionnaire I included some ideas of things you can do when you feel anxious.  We would be doing a deep breathing exercise together in class today.  I asked students to get in a comfortable position in their chairs, sitting up or laying their head down, and close their eyes.  I then read aloud a relaxation script that took students through deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and a scenario of them floating on a cloud.  The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop!

When they came back into awareness, each student received a special bookmark with tips for be prepared for STAAR testing:


  1. Hi Jaclyn, I love your ideas! Any chance you could share the questionnaire and ideas (doc or pdf) you have pictured above?

  2. Thank you! Unfortunately, I cannot locate either of the documents. I probably found them on Pinterest but no longer have a digital copy that I can find, I'm so sorry!