If you or your child suffers from test anxiety, you are NOT alone!
In Ontario, this time of year is rather stressful for children in grades 3 and 6 because they are required to write a provincial test called EQAO Test (Education Quality and Accountability Office) in both literacy and math.
This is a test that is set out to “measure students’ cumulative knowledge and skills in relation to a provincial standard”. The test is given at the end of a student’s primary years and junior years at the elementary level and the results are used to compare schools and boards across the province of Ontario.
Information taken directly from www.eqao.com.
I have my own opinions about this test and I am happy to discuss with any of you via email. Feel free to Contact Me should you wish to ask me any questions.
On on to the main topic of this post: TEST ANXIETY
My daughter is finishing up grade 3 and as a result, she is writing the EQAO test, beginning this week. This is a test that she has been worried about the entire school year. In fact, the buzz surrounding this test is so huge that students in grade two beginning thinking and talking about this test. For a typical child this would cause some form of stress, worry or anxiety. For a child who suffers anxiety on a day to day basis, this 5 day long test that the students prepare for all year is enough to send them into an anxious tailspin!
What parents do to help children stay calm about EQAO
and have less test anxiety?
- Remind your child that this test is NOT about their individual results.
- If your child feels better prepared by studying, help your child study, even if it means sitting beside them while they review.
- Give your child something to look forward to either at the end of every test day OR at the end of the entire test.
- Take your child shopping for some special school supplies for the test to help them feel more prepared as well as excited about some new supplies.
- Take your child shopping (or have them brainstorm a list) to buy some special snacks for their test days.
- Consider planning a surprise to send to the class for the end of the test. An example might be a special baked treat, a story book for the classroom wrapped in multiple layers so they can play “pass the present”, stickers or pencils for the class.
- Follow your child’s cue and only talk about the test when they bring it up. Sometimes, the buzz created by adults discussing EQAO is enough to cause a child’s stomach to go into knots.
- Teach your child how to focus on slow, deep breathing as a way to stay calm.
- Remind your child that their only job is to do their best.
- Consider teaching your child some meditation as a relaxation strategy to use both when they are worrying or if they are having difficulty sleeping due to their test anxiety.
This year, our neighbour brought over a goody bag filled with loot from our city (she works for the city) and there happened to be pencils, erasers, notebooks and a nice pencil case. The timing of this gift could not have been any better. My daughter and I decided to turn this into a special EQAO Survival Kit. I took her to buy her own pack of special gum because the students are allowed to chew gum during the test. We also headed to the grocery store to stock up on some food items that she can have for snack on test days. I tried to make it special by allowing her to pick out a couple of items that I don’t usually buy for my children.
Of course, I included my 5 year old son in all of this “fun stuff” so that he wouldn’t feel left out, but also for him to learn that there are “fun” parts to the EQAO experience as well. He has already been hearing a lot of negative buzz about the test both from my daughter as well as from adults around him.