How can I stop freaking out about state tests?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Time is running out. I am freaking out. I am losing sleep.

    I teach a combo class (4/5) so I not only have the regular LA/Math state tests rapidly approaching, but also fifth science and fourth writing (March 1st). EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!! Hyperventilating as I type...
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Wait, stop.

    You're a good teacher, right?? You spend class time doing the work you're supposed to be doing right??? You teach the material you're supposed to teach, right? And your kdis are understanding the material, right???

    So these tests should just serve as proof as all that-- validation of all the hard work you've been doing.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 17, 2011

    I agree with Alice. if you are doing your job, you have nothing to worry about. Of course, I may not be the one to give advice about state tests. I'm retiring next year and I teach children who have to take the tests, but are so far behind cognitively that they will never come close to passing the tests. I have long ago given up caring how my children do on the tests. I am much more concerned how they are doing with social skills, life skills, and self confidence skills.
     
  5. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Heavens, I know how you feel. I am in my 3rd year now, but my first year I was terrified of state tests. But, like Alice said, I worked hard to make sure I was doing my job, covering everything I was supposed to cover, and giving the students practice in the test format and endurance beforehand. We passed that first year-- not as high as I would have liked, though-- and scores improved my second year. You live and learn. Just try your very best, and at the end of the day, that's all you can do.
     
  6. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2011

    I am so sorry you are so stressed out. I teach kinder and while we don't take the "big" test, we assess and are judged according to how our kids do.

    Also as a parent of 4 kids who take high stakes tests, I know the stress it causes among students too. We have gone so overboard. What service do we do for our kids making them associate learning with fear and stress. Sure that makes me want to go to school and college!
     
  7. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Switch to a grade that doesn't do a state test! Haha, just kidding... no advice to offer, just wanted to pass on a :hugs:
     
  8. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Amen!
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2011

    I think no matter the grade - there is stress in today's teaching. Again I teach kinder and was stressed about how my kids would perform on the TPRI.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Freaking out about tests is counterproductive.
     
  11. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2011

    So how do I not? Any tips or advice on how NOT to stress? I know it isn't going to help. I just feel like we are running out of time.

    TG, it is the writing test that is giving me the most headaches; do you know of any programs or supplementals that help with this?
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 17, 2011

    One of my favorite tools for adults who get nervous about timed writing is LearningExpress's invaluable Write Better Essays in 20 Minutes a Day. Most big bookstores carry it, as well as other useful books in LearningExpress's Skill Builders series - and LearningExpress seems to have introduced a Junior Skill Builders series that includes Writing in 15 Minutes a Day. Even this book might be a bit advanced in grade for your students - but chances are that there are techniques and approaches that you can adapt.

    How are you yourself at writing on demand?
     
  13. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Heaven, I know how you feel. The state tests don't accurately reflect understanding in so many children. Even though you are a good teacher and the kids are learning the material, they may do poorly on the test.

    I got a book that I'm trying out called, Test Talk. It essentially shows how to teach Testing as a genre. I abhor the idea of teaching to the test, but I am willing to teach kids how to take the tests.

    In the Test Genre unit you can teach, you explicitly identify what the test maker means by "Main Idea," for example. You might call it the "Big Idea," or the "Theme," but the kid won't know that the Main Idea is also the Theme until you teach the Test Genre.

    That was perhaps not too clear. I am going to teach it this year, though, because like you, I feel sorry that some kids get so stuck on the test when I know they KNOW the answers, just don't get the test.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Unfortunately we test K-5 with standardized tests. 3rd-5th has more tests to deal with, but everyone has to face that stress. I've had nightmares about having to administer the test to a bunch of Pre-K students in an auditorium-their parents just wouldn't leave! ;)

    I don't know how you don't worry, however, just remember the kids will pick up on your feelings. If you're confident they will do well, odds are they will be more confident in their performance.

    Just keep repeating, it's only a test. Yes, it's how we're judged, but I think all admins take into consideration the variables that can cause some students to score lower scores.
     
  15. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jan 17, 2011

    30 more school days.... I know. That doesn't help but if it makes you feel better, I've been teaching eighteen years but this is my first year with TAKS writing, and I'm stressed out.

    On the last composition, I gave about half the class a score of zero because they did not address the prompt. Most were well written, with voice, organized, and used good vocabulary. But they didn't write about the correct topic. It's very frustrating. Many have taken notice and are finally starting to do their prewriting as they were taught, but you never know what kids are going to do on tests.
     
  16. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jan 17, 2011

    heaven you're not alone. Even teachers of the year for their states feel afraid and overly stressed from the state tests. I don't think it matters how great of a teacher you are because there are so many uncontrollable forces that affect those scores, and no one (in power) ever considers those factors.

    It's sad teaching has come down to such excessive cut throat testing. It's one thing to be nervous about a test you have to take, but another thing when you have to worry about what 30 or more other people are taking and the fact you'll be held completely responsible for their results. If I knew how to cope with that unfair burden, I'd love to share my secrets.

    I do hope you're able to calm down. As stressful as it is, it's not worth getting sick over, so try and stay healthy and do whatever you usually do to de-stress in other non-teaching situations.
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 17, 2011

    I think part of the reason why she's so worried is because she teaches a combo class. I've never taught a combo class (nor could I imagine teaching two grade levels simultaneously).

    Heavens, are you familiar with the CST Release Questions (I read that you're also from California). If not, here's a link to the 4th grade and 5th grade language arts and mathematics test release questions (these should give you a good idea of what'll be on the test):

    http://www.kidsnewsroom.org/resources/sol/ca/g04ra.pdf

    http://www.kidsnewsroom.org/resources/sol/CA/G04MA.pdf

    http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/documents/rtqgr5math.pdf

    http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/documents/rtqgr5ela.pdf


    With regard to the 4th grade writing and 5th grade science, have you consulted with your colleagues? They should be able to shed a lot of light on things and talking to them should ease your fears.

    Best wishes! Hugs! :hugs:
     
  18. teacherfan

    teacherfan Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2011

    I am in So Cal as well and am beginning to get worried that my kids won't be ready, but know we will get there some way! I thought 4th graders didn't have to take the writing test anymore...
     

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