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Learning Test Anxiety

Organized Chaos offers a very sad story about a 3rd grade student at her school who has already learned to fear the test.

I was asking the girls if they were excited about spring break and the upcoming intersession. One shook her head vigorously. No way! I’m too nervous about SOLs.

But the tests are not ’til May! I exclaimed. You have lots of time to get ready once you come back. You need to relax and enjoy spring break!

What if I forget everything I’ve learned? I HAVE to pass the SOLs! she argued.

The day before we start spring break, when most kids are thinking more about having a week off, and this little girl is worrying about tests that are almost two months away.

In Virginia, 3rd grade is the first year our students are required to take our Standards of Learning tests.

Can you imagine the levels of test anxiety this child will have acquired by the time she reaches high school?

test, anxiety, education


  1. Betty

    Your post hit home with me because I was that kind of student. I was just lucky that testing wasn’t such a big deal back then. I have worried about my grandsons as they approach the third grade. It just seems to me that this is way too much pressure to put on little kids.

  2. John Hendron

    This tale reminded me of Hermione Grainger from Harry Potter. If it’s not the S.O.L., it’s the O.W.L.s or one’s N.E.W.T.S.

    It’s one thing to blame the test for her anxiety; it is also likely the environment she lives and learns in too, that contributes.

    There’s also teacher anxiety; parent anxiety, etc., etc. Sometimes anxiety is a natural part of life. But it is unfortunate that our kids can’t enjoy their vacations, too. Sounds like a perfect time for some “reducing stress anxiety among your students” professional development for staff?

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