Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stop the Fear Mongering

Where the do you think anxiety comes from? 

If you look up the causes of test anxiety on the internet, Google suggests answers from all over the map. One thing that most of these answers have in common is that anxiety is MANUFACTURED and manifests itself in the brain. I am not suggesting anything like - people with anxiety are kooks - because I have dental anxiety. I do freak out when I am sitting in the dentist's chair with my mouth wide open looking up at the blinding lights. I am sure some of you just probably had your own little experience as I said that. BUT I am seeing my Facebook and Twitter light up with every person's child having test anxiety. I get that there are probably several out there that get an honest to goodness feeling in their gut before sitting for a large test...but oh my freaking freak!...how many chapter and unit tests have they taken before this day or 5 in April? How many spelling tests? How many quizzes? Why the deuce are these kids freaking out?

Here is where I make my enemies today...because teachers and parents - you are doing this to them.

I have seen posts on FB that say their student's teacher told the class that she could get fired over bad performance. What? As far as I know my school is the only one in Oklahoma with performance pay, and you have to do a way crappier job than have your class bomb all their tests to get fired for it. Why are teachers putting this pressure on the kids? Not all teachers do this. I know.

Parents...if your kid is bad at test taking, stop labeling them with test anxiety. This is not the end of the world. Nobody is looking at your kids 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th grade scores to get into college. Seriously, unless your kiddo is some sort of amazing the only scores people are looking at are ACT and SAT scores. Now if you are looking for scholarships, that's a different story, but then teach the kiddo some test taking skills and move on. Tests will not be going away. Even if the legislators vote to end EOI testing, that doesn't mean that benchmarking and performance will altogether quit being tracked. You take tests. Even into adulthood tests keep coming. To get a job selling insurance you take tests. To become a certified teacher, you take tests, To spray bugs, you test every four years. If you don’t pass, you don’t buy groceries. It doesn’t get any higher stakes than that. To become a physical therapy assistant...you take tests. If your kiddo can not read as a third grader, do you really think it is best to move on to the next grade level and let them get farther behind? If it was a single bad test, your administrators know that there is something called a good cause exemption. Use it.

Test anxiety has become a self induced pandemic on the feeds. I get that there are some, but the odds of every person I see posting about this actually having a child that has non-parent or non-teacher induced actual anxiety has got to be a lie. Stop scaring the hell out of the kids. Stop feeding this absurdity.