Mrs. Scott stood at the front of the classroom explaining that we would be taking a test, one that all the students in the first grade would be taking. It was very important that we take the test seriously and to not look at our neighbor’s paper. Our easy-going, reserved young teacher radiated an unusual seriousness as she held a thick stack of assessments in her arms.
Shortly after the tests were handed out, tears fell from one of my classmate’s cheeks. Then she turned to throw up on the carpet next to her desk. The room erupted in chaos, tests forgotten, and Mrs. Scott ushered us into the hallway. She knelt down to talk to the crying little girl, and word quickly spread that our classmate had been so nervous about the test that she got sick.
That was in the early 1990s, and the frequency and pressure of assessments has ratcheted up exponentially since; however, there are ways to ease test anxiety at home and in the classroom to help prepare young students for assessments. Most states start standardized testing in elementary schools as early as third grade, so preparation for students in K–2 is important.