Now that school is fully underway, it’s assessment season! Benchmarks, Interim, Summative, Quizzes and other types of assessments are practically a daily experience for our students. Test-taking anxiety is real for many students, so here are some test-taking anxiety busters for Spanish class!
Test-Taking Anxiety Busters for Reading
We often use reading or listening as one of the first skills to assess. This makes sense for novice learners and even intermediate, since it’s a recognition skill instead of a production skill. To reduce test-taking anxiety, here are some strategies.
- Provide lots of practice with vocab in context
- Provide practice that will mimic the actual assessment
- Teach specific strategies for reading, such as previewing headings, reading the questions first, and guessing the meaning of an unknown word by context
- Modify for some students by reducing the amount of reading or by breaking up the reading into smaller chunks
I think we sometimes forget that these strategies are not natural to all students. Direct instruction for how to get through what may seem like an overwhelming reading passage can be very helpful to students! I provide a small “strategies card” to each student on test day!
Test-Taking Anxiety Busters for Writing
Writing is a productive skill. Students must be able to recall a good deal of vocabulary, and they are also thinking about other things like writing mechanics, syntax, time frame, etc. Writing can produce a lot of test-taking anxiety for our Spanish students. Try these writing test anxiety busters for writing!
- Start small. If you want your students to write in paragraph form, be sure they are forming individual sentences correctly first.
- If you identify students who cannot write sentences consistently, figure out how to help. In my school, in addition to using small groups that sit with me in class or after school help with me, I use peer tutoring and hired learning tutors to help my students bridge that gap.
- Ask students to practice writing in groups. I talk about group writing challenges a lot on this blog. But all of my students, regardless of their skill level, report this activity as not only fun, but as something they walk away from with more confidence in their writing. The kids help each other- even if it’s by accident, to clarify misunderstandings!
- Provide a graphic organizer. So many students with accommodations have this in their plan. But why not offer it to everyone?
- Provide a short checklist for students to use before they turn in their work.
Test-Taking Anxiety Busters for Listening
A lot of the strategies we talk about can be used and re-used for any skill! Here are a few test-taking anxiety busters specific to listening!
- Provide lots and lots of practice
- Vary the kinds of ways that students can demonstrate understanding
- Have students practice taking notes. Let them discover if it’s better to take notes in Spanish or English.
- Preview the questions first
- Do a warm-up before the assessment to give students’ brains time to “cross over” into Spanish!
Test-Taking Anxiety Busters for Speaking
Speaking is the activity and assessment type that by far produces the most test-taking anxiety for my students, even those that don’t usually suffer from it. I have written entire blog posts on how to get students feeling more comfortable speaking and participating in class.
If this is a challenge for your students, I will link those posts below so you can read about ideas for normalizing speaking in your classroom. I think having speaking be a regular and normal part of class is the BEST strategy for reducing test-taking anxiety for your Spanish students!
Test-Taking Anxiety Busters: Strategy Cards for Students Visit the Free Resource Library to get these!