There’s no such thing as a bad test taker, but anxiety is real

For the previous two years, Lamb has given her college students an optionally available observe take a look at earlier than each graded take a look at. Though it has totally different questions from the graded take a look at, college students who take the observe model get a chance to hone the abilities that will likely be assessed and get accustomed to the take a look at format. Lamb discovered that observe exams take away college students’ concern of the unknown and make it simpler to review with out feeling utterly overwhelmed. “A tiny little bit of stress can be a motivator,” she mentioned. “When it is an excessive amount of stress, I discover that college students shut down. In order a lot as attainable, I attempt to maintain college students from shutting down by managing expectations.” 


Overly broad assessments can confound learners as a result of their brains should go in lots of instructions to entry the knowledge they want. A centered evaluation concentrates on checking college students’ competency in a handful of expertise at one time. “Readability is kindness,” mentioned Lamb, who solely exams college students on two or three expertise per evaluation. For instance, she may give her college students a take a look at that covers simply studying comprehension and writing. 

Narrowing the main focus additionally makes observe exams extra helpful as a result of they aim the identical expertise because the graded exams. When college students obtain suggestions on observe exams it provides them details about the place they should research extra. Moreover, Lamb leaves feedback on observe and graded exams to assist college students identify learning gaps

“Well timed suggestions makes an enormous distinction in whether or not or not college students perceive how they did and why they [performed] that means,” she mentioned. Whether or not it is after a observe take a look at or after a graded examination, college students can schedule time together with her to speak by any suggestions and determine the place they want extra assist.  


Lamb provides college students an optionally available retake examination with totally different questions from the unique. As a result of Lamb gives immediate suggestions, retakes may be scheduled through the week following the take a look at in order that college students don’t really feel like they’re falling behind.

Perfectionism and excessive stakes can contribute to check anxiousness, so offering college students with another chance to show what they know can provide them company over their evaluation and cut back strain. Additionally, Lamb is aware of that college students have lives exterior of sophistication that may have an effect on their take a look at efficiency. “Generally college students are going to have the ability to are available and provides their greatest work. Generally that is not going to occur,” Lamb mentioned. “Generally they’re simply coming from a math take a look at [or they’re participating in] two sports activities.” 

Many lecturers could balk on the considered creating observe, graded and retake assessments – a complete of three exams per unit, however Lamb mentioned it’s time properly spent.  “I make [all the assessments] collectively on the similar time,” she mentioned. “It does take extra time, however it’s so price it to have college students really feel higher in regards to the testing.”

Moreover, Lamb contains three ungraded questions on the finish of her assessments so college students can replicate on their test-taking expertise and talk any essential info to her. She asks college students:

  • What did you discover success with?
  • What did you discover difficult?
  • What would you like your instructor to know?

College students have used the questions, notably the third one, to tell Lamb about life occasions like a demise of their household or that they’d a take a look at in one other class on the identical day. From time to time she’ll learn a solution unrelated to the take a look at. “One scholar advised me that they don’t like my footwear,” Lamb mentioned. However criticism from college students would not maintain her from seeking their feedback so she will be able to discover higher methods to evaluate their studying.

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