Reducing Elementary School Students’ Test Anxiety
In our post, “Reducing Test Anxiety in Elementary School Children: Coloring Before a Test,” we look at the findings of Dana Carsley and Nancy L. Heath, who examined the effect of coloring before a test on elementary school students’ test anxiety. The authors argue that since test anxiety is the most prevalent form of anxiety among K-12 students, it is essential for teachers to find easy-to-implement strategies to help reduce student test anxiety. The results of their study reveal that having elementary school students color mandalas or color freely for 10-15 minutes before a test significantly reduced their test anxiety.
“[E]ducators should consider incorporating free draw/coloring activities in their classrooms for students.” – Carsley and Heath
While this is not a cure for students’ test anxiety, it has been shown to be an effective strategy that requires to additional teacher training and minimal class time.
Questions to Guide Educators’ Professional Development:
- Do teachers in your district/school discuss the prevalence of student test anxiety, even among students without IEPs?
- During what circumstances do teachers notice an increase in students’ test anxiety?
- What support systems are currently offered for students who have test anxiety?
- Do teachers in your district/school currently implement in-class / whole-class anxiety-reducing measures? If yes, what strategies do they use?
- Are teachers in your district/school aware of the research showing that having students color mandalas or color freely before a test reduces test anxiety?
- In what ways can the district/school help teachers implement the coloring strategy?
- For what tests do teachers in your district/school think would be important to reduce student test anxiety?
- Check out supercoloring.com for tons of free mandala designs: http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/arts-culture/mandala
- Teachers should provide coloring utensils and paper to make sure all students have access to the anxiety reducing strategy.
- Have a group of willing teachers be the test-pilots to see how the coloring strategy can be smoothly implemented. These teachers can then share out at department or staff meetings.