How I try to decrease anxiety on assessments

How I decrease anxiety on assessments

Assessments alone can be daunting.  As any teacher, I want to assess my students with what they know and can do, but I want all of my students to be successful.  While I keep changing, there are a few things that I do to decrease anxiety.

  • Overall, I have noticed that with a switch to proficiency based grading, my students are able to show what they can do instead of getting caught up with what they do not know.  This has significantly decreased anxiety.
  • I always provide a study guide with sample problems.  If I will have students complete an interpretive reading or listening, I give them a smaller sample of types of questions and readings or listenings.  If it is a writing, I will give them some topics to think about.  I go over the style of the quiz before they see it.  I do not like to have any surprises on the assessment.
  • I like to give students options.  In my level 2, I like for students to work on writing Spanish definitions for words because I believe it will help them use circumlocution in the target language.  However, I give my students extra words to choose from.  They are still proving that they know the words and can define them, but this gives them wiggle room.  With presentational writing, I try to give them two options if possible.
  • I never give pop quizzes.  I know this was a big point at ACTFL this year with different presenters, and many people said that unannounced quizzes give a better look at proficiency.  I believe that; however, I also teach in a high school where students’ grades count when they apply to college.  I don’t want them to come to class every day worrying that I will give them a pop quiz.
  • This may be the most obvious, but I make sure that our assessment is our end goal and that the activities that we complete support that end goal.  I will talk about it early on, so students know what they have to do to reach that goal.  We discuss the rubrics as well.
  • In addition, there is one aspect that I am excited to try.  Post assessment, I want to ask students what they need to know to do better next time.  I analyze the data, but this will help me look more at what students need.  Plus, I think any time that you can get more input from students is best!

I would love to hear how you decrease anxiety with assessments!  Share in the comments!

5 thoughts on “How I try to decrease anxiety on assessments

    1. That is awesome! I think in this atmosphere, it is so closely tied with grades that it can really increase anxiety in students. I try to do as much as I can to create that while giving students enough preparation, so they are not frustrated.

  1. I’m having trouble figuring out what a good rubric would look like for each standard (interpretive, interpersonal, presentational). Do you have any example or know of any? Thanks!

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