Are you afraid of tests? Student psychology courses always imply that the evaluation method and the “idea” of a test are much more difficult to accept than the test itself. Students of all levels suffer from a type of anxiety which affects their performance and consequently, their results. This is always a disappointment for students, as well as their parents, especially when they have worked so hard studying at home.
Many solutions come to mind, starting from changing the class environment to questioning the need for evaluation in the first place.
Now, from a teacher’s point of view, continuous evaluation is essential in order to follow the progress of a student and identify what was acquired and what still needs work.
As a teacher, I always search for new ways to improve myself and help my students along their long journey of learning. I have tried the following approach to combat test anxiety in all of my classes and I like its effects.
The idea is to make the quiz approachable. I started drawing a happy face inside my Qs when I write the word Quiz on the board. I call it Mr. Quiz.
Students were surprised at first, but genuinely smiled and liked the idea. Soon enough, student started using their Mr. Quiz to express their own thoughts, opinions and fears in a very simple and eloquent way.
That definitely helped. You can see the student writing with a smile on his face. The “shock” of a quiz is balanced with simple humor and the basic drawing of a smile.
I will not be over enthusiastic and say that the outcome was perfect. There are always students who are uninterested with the happy face, simply because they do not fear tests. Others will still fail because they do not study at home.
But I am sure of this: students who used to fear quizzes now wait in anticipation for Mr. Quiz. I draw different smiles each time; sometimes a hat, other times a mustache. This always draws a smile on their faces before they begin answering questions.
It is my belief that a teacher’s job is to aid, support and encourage students to become the best they can be. Thanks to my simple Mr. Quiz, I believe I have made a tiny contribution to minimize the fear of tests inside my class. After all, who can resist a smile?