Living Environment Regents prepI am currently working with a small group of students who have been unable to pass the Living Environment Regents. Their problems range from difficulty with...

Living Environment Regents prep

I am currently working with a small group of students who have been unable to pass the Living Environment Regents. Their problems range from difficulty with vocabulary, low self esteem, etc. I guess I am asking if anyone has any tried and true methods to help students who have real difficulty taking standardized tests?

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have some students who have a stress ball of some sort which they bring to any formal examinations and man, do they work those things while they're testing!  It does seem to alleviate some of the most severe test anxiety, though.  With some students, I've occasionally done a brief oral exam before the written version (perhaps before school or during lunch or a study hall period) to kind of get the worst of the nerves out of the way.  This is a real problem for some, and the ideas above are great for minimizing the idea that these tests are the beginning and end of life as we know it--which is often how it seems to them.  On a note of encouragement, one of my students who had some of the worst test anxiety I've seen is now in his second year of law school and I could not be more proud of him. Gives me a chance to encourage others.   

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Is it possible to teach them what they need to know (for the test and for life) without placing so much emphasis on the test? I try to make my students mindful of mandated testing requirements by just throwing it out as one reason for what we're doing from time to time. Also, I try to reinforce, on a daily or bi-daily basis with my students that I believe in them, and they need to believe in themselves. I then try to develop learning opportunties that allow them to engage in growth of knoweldge which seems to increase their esteem.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess one way to think through this issue would be to forget the test initially and start trying to tackle the root causes of the problem - perhaps focusing on low self esteem, and work on improving that. If you can allow such students a taste of success in whatever area they are able to succeed in, that will hopefully allow them to think they can succeed in other areas. Of course, making the curriculum relevant to their lives in anyway possible is also vital.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Giving them a lot of practice tests seems to help in this situation. If you can break it up into certain types of questions and give them instant feedback, they will feel like they are making progress. Also, give them specific test-taking strategies so they feel more confident.
epollock | Student

One of the best ways to get students to perform better is to improve the culture of the club or class so that they can see the benefits of doing well for themselves. If they can't, there is no matter how much you can help them, they just can't be helped. Spend some time with them to get to know them and ask them their own questions about how they learn.