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Test Stress

by Ronald A. Rowe | April 27th, 2012 | Tweens

There are tests and there are tests. In Florida we have something called the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Basically it is the yardstick by which the state measures academic success. These two weeks of testing are a stressful time for everyone involved – students, parents, teachers, and administrators. The bubbling cauldron of stress is about the worst possible environment for our aspiring scholars to take a test.
The thing that our ever-so-wise legislators fail to recognize is that there is no one size fits all test to measure one school – or one student – against another. They also don’t quite get that the pressure they put on the schools gets passed on to the teachers, who in turn pass it on to the students. My son, who tests well and has never had a problem in school, has been worried sick all week because of the undue emphasis placed on this one test.
As parents, we need to do our part to take the stress out of testing, standardized or otherwise, to allow our children to relax and do their best. It is a certainty that students will perform better when they are relaxed. All the pushing and cajoling and stress can only make things worse.
Of course, we can’t go too far to the other extreme. It would be a grave disservice to our children if we were to teach them that their academics just don’t matter. We can’t try so hard to put them at ease that they end up not caring. Like most aspects of parenting, it is a fine line. Too far to one extreme and we’ve got stressed-out worriers who can’t function. Too far the other way and we’ve got lazy ambivalent slackers who won’t function because they just don’t care.
There’s a healthy middle ground. Tests are important, but not life-defining. Aspiring to success, not fear of failure, should be the motivation. That’s the atmosphere we need to create to make the most of whatever type of test life throws at our children.

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