Negative Effects Of Test Anxiety


The issue of test anxiety has continued to become more and more of a problem. The issue that affects so many people with such high costs. While many solutions claim to attack the problem of test anxiety in schools, such as allowing more studying opportunities, checking in with the students and stress relief practices, the best solution is evaluating students in a different way, rather than a test that counts for a large percent of their grade.

Test anxiety. Almost every person has experienced a variation or impact caused by it. Test anxiety has been around since testing has been a thing. This problem wasn’t developed from an event or person, but it is a personal issue. It being a personal issue, this problem begins in an individual’s mindset. An individual can be affected in many different ways, this obstacle doesn’t have a certain form and is not the same for everyone. Being such a common problem, many people are affected by it, of all ages it can affect everyone from kindergarteners to professors. 

Nowadays, a very common trend is that students in school have struggled with test anxiety. This issue can affect people in many different ways but “test-taking anxiety has the potential to impair someone's test performance.” (UWIRE). Students that struggle with test anxiety are unable to exceed their academic performance potential. This is a problem because many individuals who thought the problem was to focus on keeping everything equal and fair, but they didn’t recognize that, by having something equal and fair, they need to be able to accommodate all student’s needs. Without these students' needs met, it is a huge disadvantage to them and their academics. Many schools have attempted to try and make the situation and issue be resolved, but it is a very difficult task. Test anxiety can impact individuals in so many different ways, there is not one solution that fixes it all.

If the issue of test anxiety does not get resolved, it will continue to hold back students from their full potential. The importance that testing has nowadays, influences students to worry more than they have to , “Testing is considered high stakes when outcomes are tied to graduation, district funding, or teacher employment and salary”(Standard)”. The high pressures of testing have been building up as time evolves. With expectations increasing, a test could be the breaking point between being successful, and failing.

One solution that has been proposed and applied to try and help students, is promoting more studying before test taking. It is important to give students confidence in themselves and about the assessment beforehand. By giving students a healthy way of reviewing or studying, it avoids high stress and anxiety, “Breaking up material into smaller pieces instead of cramming all at once is more relaxing — and more effective” (Accommodations). 

Another solution is checking in the students, on a personal note. The idea of having a connection with a student and being open allows support and a sense of belonging for the individual. It is important for a student to feel supported because if they have low self-esteem, it may cause them to worry and trigger anxiety. As educators, it is important to recognize how many “Students must adapt to environments plagued by rapid change, ambiguity, uncertainty, and depleted support systems” (Personal). Having so many responsibilities, priorities and juggling all the changes happening in their lives each day, “Add to that busy schedules and overstimulation from TV and computers, and you've got a recipe for anxiety” (KIWI) and is quite overwhelming at times. School needs to be a place where students can learn and enjoy their day, but “Many children suffer from worry because of school pressures”(KIWI). So, it is important to ensure that the student’s wellness is okay, because of all the weight they carry on their shoulders every day.

The solution of incorporating and teaching stress relief in school is also a benefited solution. “Kids can learn to meditate and bring these skills to the test. Try deep breathing, focused visualization and more to stay calm while testing” (Accommodations). By learning some stress relief practices, students are able to take with them a practice that can help keep them focused and calm. These practices that they are taught can be brought with them and used in many situations through-out their lives, “Stress is a state of physical and emotional tension that occurs in times of danger or difficulty” (Stress). Knowing how to calm down or relax, is a very important skill to have in life, because there are many situations where individuals can get anxious, upset or angry.

With this everyday issue, there is one solution that has more advantages than them all. Many educators use the idea of a test to “evaluate their performance”, but have they ever thought about evaluating their students in a way that won’t be so high stress? By incorporating new ways to see where their students are, whether it’s a presentation, hands on work or simply a discussion, they are able to still challenge their students and see where they are with their knowledge. Schools should focus on the student’s overall performance, not just seeing their understanding by giving out a test, “Public education should be obsessed with high-quality teaching and learning, not high-stakes testing” (Myers) school needs to be more than just tests and assessments. This solution outweighs the other ones because this solution is not a short-term fix. This solution offers a new look on the educational system, by focusing on the student rather than the numerical score. It gives an equal and fair opportunity for all students to excel and reach their potential in their academics. 

Test Anxiety has been around for so long many of us have adapted and just dealt with it because there haven’t been any significant and long-term changes. There are many solutions to this problem and many different ways to look at them. So, next time before a hard test, think about how you feel and imagine how you would rather feel.

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