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Test Anxiety in Schools

Posted by: Kikilia | October 15, 2011 | No Comment |

-By Kikilia Kojin

(Pictured: Megan Shover and Adriane Huff)

“It makes you want to . . . scream, cry, and hurry, and quit! Sometimes I want to pull my hair out. [The effects on my grades are] horrible. I usually fail [a test],” reminisced Debra Altman, a sophomore, who is personally associated with test anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 25.1% of children ages 13-18 have an anxiety disorder and 5.9% of children ages 13-18 have a severe anxiety disorder, including test anxiety.

What exactly is test anxiety? “It’s real. It’s a lot of internal pressure that students put on themselves. It’s a combination of two things: fear of failure and fear of letting people down. They get nervous, anxious. They start hyperventilating and getting scared,” explained Lin Hampson, the counselor.

“People don’t like to take tests and they start to freak out. They don’t want other people to finish before them. It affects them a lot. They won’t do well on their test,” shared Abby Gilliam, a junior.

Imagine the effect this has on students with the anxiety. Gilliam continued, “Stress goes up a lot. They have to totally change their schedule. It changes their attitudes.”

“High school is anxiety producing. It’s really difficult in class, particularly where test grades count a lot. It pulls grades down and it affects stress level horribly. You work really hard, show up to class everyday, really know the material, and then you come in and fail the test. It’s not good for anyone’s self-esteem,” observed Hampson.

According to Utah State university, “for some students, test anxiety is so intense that it negatively affects their academic success.”

So how do teachers adjust to situations where students are too anxious to do well on a test? “They pull them out of the classroom, away from the rest [of the students to take the test]. They also can schedule for a different time,” remarked Gilliam.

“They can provide different ways for a student to do well. Some teachers count homework or extra projects. Some teachers have alternate assessments, or book reports, projects, or they throw out the worst test score,” implied Hampson.

“Taking the test by your self won’t reduce the stress. For the rest of your life, there aren’t many tests. High school is the time of the most tests. College is less and at your job, there’s none. . .” concluded Hampson. Students with test anxiety can see negative impacts on their academic success, but if their teachers are informed, they will receive the help they need to be more successful in high school, so that tests aren’t an obstacle.

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