Addressing Test Anxiety in a High-Stakes Environment: Strategies for Classrooms and Schools

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Corwin Press, 2006 - Education - 178 pages
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In an era of high-stakes testing and accountability, improving exam results is at the top of most teachers′ to-do lists.

Test anxiety is prompted by situations in which people feel they are being personally evaluated, resulting in cognitive and physical responses. Cizek and Burg use their considerable experience as assessment experts and former classroom teachers to help teachers both understand what test anxiety is and how they can help their students overcome it.

The use of high-stakes testing has increased throughout the country, and testing results are often linked to consequences for the school, the teacher, and the student. With the growing prevalence in high-stakes tests, the level of test anxiety in both students and teachers has increased as well. If educators do not address test anxiety, it can have devastating effects on their students′ test scores, confidence, and motivation to learn. In addition, test anxiety affects test results and the validity of tests. As a result, instructional decisions, promotion or graduation decisions, may be faulty because of test anxiety.

This practical guidebook contains:

- A glossary of assessment and measurement terms

- Suggestions for teachers, administrators, school systems, parents, and students on how to control test anxiety

- Situations where test anxiety can be helpful

- Current research findings on how widespread test anxiety is and which students it is most likely to affect

The authors include practical interventions that address students′ behavioural and cognitive needs. They also include practical strategies such as study skills and test-staking skills that can help reduce the effects of test anxiety.


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What Test Anxiety Is and Isnt
The Effects of Test Anxiety on Students and Teachers
The Causes of Test Anxiety
Measuring Test Anxiety
Conclusions and Next Steps
General Resources

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About the author (2006)

Gregory J. Cizek is Professor of Educational Measurement at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His background in the field of educational assessment includes five years as a manager of licensure and certification testing programs for American College Testing (ACT) in Iowa City, Iowa, and 15 years of teaching experience at the college level, where his teaching assignments have consisted primarily of graduate courses in educational testing, research methods, and statistics. He is the author of over 200 books, chapters, articles, conference papers, and reports. His books include Handbook of Educational Policy (Academic Press, 1998); Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1999); Setting Performance Standards: Concepts, Methods, and Perspectives (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001); and Detecting and Preventing Classroom Cheating (Corwin Press, 2003). Dr. Cizek has served as an elected member and vice president of a local school board in Ohio, and he currently works with several states, organizations, and the U.S. Department of Education on technical and policy issues related to large-scale standards-based testing programs for students in grades K–12. He began his career as an elementary school teacher in Michigan, where he taught second and fourth grades.

Samantha S. Burg is a doctoral student in Educa­tional Psychology, Measurement, and Evaluation at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She holds a BS degree in engineering from the University of Oklahoma and an MA degree in mathematics education from the University of Georgia. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she worked in the field of petroleum engineering in Alaska, served as a youth minister in Scotland, and taught high school mathematics in Georgia. Most recently, she has worked as a test development specialist for the state testing program in North Carolina. Ms. Burg first became interested in test anxiety when she was a student teacher and her class refused to take a test; this interest has persisted throughout her doctoral research, some of which examines the ways in which test anxiety may be transmitted in classrooms. Currently, she is a research assistant on a mathematics education pro­ject and is very much interested in completing her doctoral work soon, in order to support her tennis-ball-obsessed dog, Spencer, in the fashion to which he has become accustomed. Ms. Burg has presented her research at various professional conferences and is a member of the National Council on Measurement in Education.

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